'Junk' clue boosts hopes for Parkinson's treatment
PARIS (AFP) - A flawed gene implicated in Parkinson's disease lets proteins build up dangerously in key brain cells, according to a study on Sunday that throws open new paths for tackling the tragic disorder.
Parkinson's patients suffer from progressive stiffness, slowing of movement and problems in coordination resulting from the loss of nerve cells that make a muscle-controlling chemical, dopamine.
A hallmark of the disease is the presence of so-called Lewy bodies, an accumulation of toxic proteins in these vital cells.
But how the proteins - the byproducts of normal cellular processes - are allowed to pile up within the cell, eventually killing it, has remained unclear.