New Parkinson’s Disease Research Maps Out Inhibitory Processes

Neurotransmission pic

Neurotransmission
Image: oist.jp

As CEO of Consonance Capital, Dr. Mitchell Blutt guides private equity funds and health care investments. Community focused, Dr. Mitchell Blutt supports a number of nonprofits and is a past board member of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which is working to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

Impacting 10 million people across the globe, Parkinson’s disease is a neurological condition that results in deterioration of physical function, with uncontrollable tremors leading to nerve cells misfiring and dying within the brain. Still incurable, Parkinson’s disease is not fully understood by medical researchers.

A recently published study by the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University revealed the protein that blocks the proper transmission of neural signals that underpin higher brain functioning. Neurotransmission enables neurons to communicate signals effectively and transfer them in ways that allow seamless sensory motor functioning.

The chemical messengers contained in vesicle endocytosis within the nerve terminal are essential in transmitting neurological signals. When the process of endocytosis is inhibited during times of heavy use, processes breakdown and sensory perception of motor control is affected. Understanding this inhibitory process promises to offer a vital step toward tailoring treatments to actual neurological conditions in ways that have a positive for among patients.

Therapies Available to Treat Parkinson’s Disease

Mitchell Blutt

Mitchell Blutt

Healthcare investment professional Dr. Mitchell Blutt founded Consonance Capital in 2005 and has served as its CEO since then. An active member of the healthcare community, Dr. Mitchell Blutt has been involved with various healthcare foundations such as the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Each year, the Michael J. Fox Foundation works toward the goal of curing Parkinson’s disease by funding crucial research and supporting the creation of innovative therapies. Focused primarily on improving the lives of Parkinson’s patients, the organization also provides all the information individuals need to understand their various treatment options.

Medication is one of the first therapies physicians recommend to those living with Parkinson’s disease. Though these prescriptions help lessen symptoms of the condition, they cannot slow or reverse the disease itself. In general, Parkinson’s disease medications target two sets of symptoms: motor and non-motor. The former helps alleviate the muscle tremors and sluggishness that the condition manifests in patients. The latter complements physical treatment by providing relief from symptoms such as sleep deprivation and depression.

When medications are not enough to help patients manage their symptoms, physicians often will turn to deep brain stimulation as an alternative method of treatment. Those who receive this therapy must undergo a surgical procedure in which they receive electrode implants in their brain. By connecting to an external device, these electrodes administer small pulses to the parts of the brain that generate motor symptoms.

The Primary Causes of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson's Disease pic

Parkinson’s Disease
Image: WebMD.com

Mitchell Blutt is the founder and CEO of healthcare investment firm Consonance Capital as well as a clinical assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. A professional scientist and businessman for almost 30 years, Mitchell Blutt has served on numerous boards in support of a variety of organizations, including the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

The foundation was established by actor Michael J. Fox in 2000 to fund the search for a cure to the disease that affects Fox and as many as 10 million others worldwide. Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative neurological disorder for which there is currently no known test or biomarker. Research has, however, uncovered evidence of two primary causes of the chronic disease.

In rare cases, Parkinson’s appears to be the result of a genetic mutation involving a single gene, known as the LRRK2 gene. The mutated gene may be passed down through generations, which could explain why there are sometimes multiple cases of the disease within a single bloodline.

Environmental issues have also been known to trigger the development of Parkinson’s. In the case of most patients, both genetic and environmental factors appear to contribute to the onset of Parkinson’s disease.

Foundation’s Supports Research on Parkinson’s Disease and Genetics

Dr. Mitchell Blutt, an eminent physician and businessman, has served on many boards over the course of his career. Among his contributions, Dr. Mitchell Blutt contributed to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, an organization focused on Parkinson’s disease research. Since its founding in 2000 by actor Michael J. Fox, the foundation has invested more than $450 million in research.

One of the organization’s focus areas is on increasing knowledge of Parkinson’s genetics. Approximately 10 percent of Parkinson’s patients acquire the disease due to a genetic mutation. Researchers discovered that mutations in the SNCA gene were common in families with high incidences of Parkinson’s disease. In 2004, another gene LRRK2 was tied to high rates of Parkinson’s in several families. Scientists have also noted that having a mutation in one or both of these genes does not necessarily mean that an individual will develop Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers can learn a great deal from Parkinson’s patients with genetic mutations. This knowledge can help grow overall understanding of Parkinson’s and lead to development of new beneficial therapies.