Two studies recently released provide more insight into diagnosing and treating Parkinson’s disease.

One emerging area of study focuses on how the build-up of proteins in the brain may lead to neurodegenerative diseases. Interactions between two of those proteins, amyloid and tau, may distinguish Parkinson’s disease from other degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s. This research is part of the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative, a global research project to better understand the disease sponsored in part by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research.

The other study, published in the journalNature Neuroscience, found that an anti-cancer compound protected dopamine-making neurons from death in a mouse model, and also prevented behavioral abnormalities similar to those seen in Parkinson’s disease.

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September 12, 2013