Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Parkinson's disease


In retired professional association football (soccer) players with a past history of repetitive head impacts, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a potential neurodegenerative cause of dementia and motor impairments. From 1980 to 2010, 14 retired footballers with dementia were followed up regularly until death. Their clinical data, playing career, and concussion history were prospectively collected. Next-of-kin provided consent for six to have post-mortem brain examination. Of the 14 male participants, 13 were professional and 1 was a committed amateur. All were skilled headers of the ball and had played football for an average of 26 years. Concussion rate was limited in six cases to one episode each during their careers. All cases developed progressive cognitive impairment with an average age at onset of 63.6 years and disease duration of 10 years. Neuropathological examination revealed septal abnormalities in all six post-mortem cases, supportive of a history of chronic repetitive head impacts. Four cases had pathologically confirmed CTE; concomitant pathologies included Alzheimer’s disease (N = 6), TDP-43 (N = 6), cerebral amyloid angiopathy (N = 5), hippocampal sclerosis (N = 2), corticobasal degeneration (N = 1), dementia with Lewy bodies (N = 1), and vascular pathology (N = 1); and all would have contributed synergistically to the clinical manifestations. The pathological diagnosis of CTE was established in four individuals according to the latest consensus diagnostic criteria. This finding is probably related to their past prolonged exposure to repetitive head impacts from head-to-player collisions and heading the ball thousands of time throughout their careers. Alzheimer’s disease and TDP-43 pathologies are common concomitant findings in CTE, both of which are increasingly considered as part of the CTE pathological entity in older individuals. Association football is the most popular sport in the world and the potential link between repetitive head impacts from playing football and CTE as indicated from our findings is of considerable public health interest. Clearly, a definitive link cannot be established in this clinico-pathological series, but our findings support the need for further systematic investigation, including large-scale case-control studies to identify at risk groups of footballers which will justify for the implementation of protective strategies.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Pathology, Parkinson's disease, Dementia, Lewy body, Autopsy, Cerebral amyloid angiopathy, Football


 To postulate a new possible cause of a unilaterally reduced arm swing in addition to the known medical conditions such as shoulder pathology, Erb’s palsy, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease.

Concepts: Medicine, Cancer, Disease, Infectious disease, Medical terms, Parkinson's disease, Evolutionary medicine


We describe a disease encompassing infantile-onset movement disorder (including severe parkinsonism and nonambulation), mood disturbance, autonomic instability, and developmental delay, and we describe evidence supporting its causation by a mutation in SLC18A2 (which encodes vesicular monoamine transporter 2 [VMAT2]). VMAT2 translocates dopamine and serotonin into synaptic vesicles and is essential for motor control, stable mood, and autonomic function. Treatment with levodopa was associated with worsening, whereas treatment with direct dopamine agonists was followed by immediate ambulation, near-complete correction of the movement disorder, and resumption of development.

Concepts: Parkinson's disease, Neurotransmitter, Serotonin, Transport, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Monoamine transporter, Monoamine neurotransmitter


Parkinson’s disease is a chronic progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by resting tremor, slowness of movements, rigidity, gait disturbance and postural instability. Most investigations on Parkinson’s disease focused on the basal ganglia, whereas the cerebellum has often been overlooked. However, increasing evidence suggests that the cerebellum may have certain roles in the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease. Anatomical studies identified reciprocal connections between the basal ganglia and cerebellum. There are Parkinson’s disease-related pathological changes in the cerebellum. Functional or morphological modulations in the cerebellum were detected related to akinesia/rigidity, tremor, gait disturbance, dyskinesia and some non-motor symptoms. It is likely that the major roles of the cerebellum in Parkinson’s disease include pathological and compensatory effects. Pathological changes in the cerebellum might be induced by dopaminergic degeneration, abnormal drives from the basal ganglia and dopaminergic treatment, and may account for some clinical symptoms in Parkinson’s disease. The compensatory effect may help maintain better motor and non-motor functions. The cerebellum is also a potential target for some parkinsonian symptoms. Our knowledge about the roles of the cerebellum in Parkinson’s disease remains limited, and further attention to the cerebellum is warranted.

Concepts: Neurology, Parkinson's disease, Deep brain stimulation, Basal ganglia, Substantia nigra, Dopamine, Haloperidol, Tremor


Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs) comprise a heterogeneous group of metabolic storage diseases that present with the accumulation of autofluorescent lipopigment, neurodegeneration and premature death. Nine genes have been thus far identified as the cause of different types of NCL, with ages at onset ranging from around birth to adult, although the underlying etiology of the disease still remains elusive. We present a family with typical NCL pathology in which we performed exome sequencing and identified a single homozygous mutation in ATP13A2 that fully segregates with disease within the family. Mutations in ATP13A2 are a known cause of Kufor-Rakeb syndrome (KRS), a rare parkinsonian phenotype with juvenile onset. These data show that NCL and KRS may share etiological features and implicate the lysosomal pathway in Parkinson’s disease.

Concepts: DNA, Cancer, Evolution, Death, Parkinson's disease, Parkinsonism, Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, Batten disease


Small molecules with antioxidative properties have been implicated in amyloid disorders. Curcumin is the active ingredient present in turmeric and known for several biological and medicinal effects. Adequate evidence substantiates the importance of curcumin in Alzheimer’s disease and recent evidence suggests its role in Prion and Parkinson’s disease. However, contradictory effects have been suggested for Huntington’s disease. This difference provided a compelling reason to investigate the effect of curcumin on glutamine-rich (Q-rich) and non-glutamine-rich (non Q-rich) amyloid aggregates in the well established yeast model system. Curcumin significantly inhibited the formation of htt72Q-GFP (a Q-rich) and Het-s-GFP (a non Q-rich) aggregates in yeast. We show that curcumin prevents htt72Q-GFP aggregation by down regulating Vps36, a component of the ESCRT-II (Endosomal sorting complex required for transport). Moreover, curcumin disrupted the htt72Q-GFP aggregates that were pre-formed in yeast and cured the yeast prion, [PSI(+)].

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Model organism, Prion, Neurodegenerative disorders, Parkinson's disease, Dementia, Turmeric, Curcumin


In advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease, serotonergic terminals take up l-DOPA and convert it to dopamine. Abnormally released dopamine may participate in the development of l-DOPA-induced dyskinesias. Simultaneous activation of 5-HT1A and 5-HT1B receptors effectively blocks l-DOPA-induced dyskinesias in animal models of dopamine depletion, justifying a clinical study with eltoprazine, a 5-HT1A/B receptor agonist, against l-DOPA-induced dyskinesias in patients with Parkinson’s disease. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled and dose-finding phase I/IIa study was conducted. Single oral treatment with placebo or eltoprazine, at 2.5, 5 and 7.5 mg, was tested in combination with a suprathreshold dose of l-DOPA (Sinemet®) in 22 patients with Parkinson’s disease (16 male/six female; 66.6 ± 8.8 years old) with l-DOPA-induced dyskinesias. A Wilcoxon Signed Ranked Test was used to compare each eltoprazine dose level to paired randomized placebo on the prespecified primary efficacy variables; area under the curve scores on Clinical Dyskinesia Rating Scale for 3 h post-dose and maximum change of Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale part III for 3 h post-dose. Secondary objectives included effects on maximum Clinical Dyskinesia Rating Scale score, area under the curve of Rush Dyskinesia Rating Scale score for 3 h post-dose, mood parameters measured by Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale and Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale along with the pharmacokinetics, safety and tolerability profile of eltoprazine. A mixed model repeated measures was used for post hoc analyses of the area under the curve and peak Clinical Dyskinesia Rating Scale scores. It was found that serum concentrations of eltoprazine increased in a dose-proportional manner. Following levodopa challenge, 5 mg eltoprazine caused a significant reduction of l-DOPA-induced dyskinesias on area under the curves of Clinical Dyskinesia Rating Scale [-1.02(1.49); P = 0.004] and Rush Dyskinesia Rating Scale [-0.15(0.23); P = 0.003]; and maximum Clinical Dyskinesia Rating Scale score [-1.14(1.59); P = 0.005]. The post hoc analysis confirmed these results and also showed an antidyskinetic effect of 7.5 mg eltoprazine. Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale part III scores did not differ between the placebo and eltoprazine treatments. The most frequent adverse effects after eltoprazine were nausea and dizziness. It can be concluded that a single dose, oral treatment with eltoprazine has beneficial antidyskinetic effects without altering normal motor responses to l-DOPA. All doses of eltoprazine were well tolerated, with no major adverse effects. Eltoprazine has a favourable risk-benefit and pharmacokinetic profile in patients with Parkinson’s disease. The data support further clinical studies with chronic oral eltoprazine to treat l-DOPA-induced-dyskinesias.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Clinical trial, Effectiveness, Parkinson's disease, Clinical research, Placebo, Dopamine, L-DOPA


BACKGROUND: People with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (PD) frequently have low activity levels, poor mobility and reduced quality of life. Although increased physical activity may improve mobility, balance and wellbeing, adherence to exercises and activity programs over the longer term can be challenging, particularly for older people with progressive neurological conditions such as PD. Physical activities that are engaging and enjoyable, such as dancing, might enhance adherence over the long term. The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of a randomized controlled trial of Irish set dancing compared with routine physiotherapy for people with mild to moderately severe PD. METHODS: Twenty-four people with idiopathic PD referred for movement rehabilitation were randomized to receive standard physiotherapy exercises or Irish set dancing classes once per week plus a weekly home program for 6 months (12 in each group). The feasibility and safety of the proposed RCT protocol was the main focus of this evaluation. The primary outcome was motor disability measured by the motor component of the UPDRS, which was assessed prior to and after therapy by trained assessors blinded to group assignment. The Timed Up and Go, the Berg Balance Scale and the modified Freezing of Gait Questionnaire were secondary measures. Quality of life of the people with PD was evaluated using the PDQ-39. RESULTS: Both the Irish set dancing and physiotherapy exercise program were shown to be feasible and safe. There were no differences between groups in the rate of adverse events such as falls, serious injuries, death or rates of admission to hospital. The physiotherapists who provided usual care remained blind to group allocation, with no change in their standard clinical practice. Compliance and adherence to both the exercise and dance programs were very high and attrition rates were low over the 6 months of therapy. Although improvements were made in both groups, the dance group showed superior results to standard physiotherapy in relation to freezing of gait, balance and motor disability. CONCLUSIONS: Irish dancing and physiotherapy were both safe and feasible in this sample from Venice, with good adherence over a comparatively long time period of 6 months. A larger multi-centre trial is now warranted to establish whether Irish set dancing is more effective than routine physiotherapy for enhancing mobility, balance and quality of life in people living with idiopathic PD.Trial registration: EudraCT number 2012-005769-11.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Randomized controlled trial, Physical exercise, Exercise, Parkinson's disease, Physical therapy, Irish dance


BACKGROUND: The recent SLEEMSA study that evaluated excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) in Caucasian patients with multiple system atrophy (MSA) demonstrated that EDS was more frequent in patients (28%) than in healthy subjects (2%). However, the prevalence and determinants of EDS in other ethnic populations have not been reported to date. METHODS: We performed a single-hospital prospective study on patients with probable MSA. To ascertain the prevalence and determinants of EDS in Japanese MSA patients, we assessed the patients' degree of daytime sleepiness by using the Japanese version of the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS). In addition, we investigated the effects of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and abnormal periodic leg movements in sleep (PLMS), which were measured by polysomnography, on the patients' ESS scores. RESULTS: A total of 25 patients with probable MSA (21 patients with cerebellar MSA and 4 patients with parkinsonian MSA) were included in this study. All patients underwent standard polysomnography. The mean ESS score was 6.2 +/- 0.9, and EDS was identified in 24% of the patients. SDB and abnormal PLMS were identified in 24 (96%) and 11 (44%) patients, respectively. The prevalences of EDS in patients with SDB and abnormal PLMS were 25% and 18%, respectively. No correlations were observed between ESS scores and the parameters of SDB or abnormal PLMS. CONCLUSIONS: The frequency of EDS in Japanese patients with MSA was similar to that in Caucasian MSA patients. SDB and abnormal PLMS were frequently observed in MSA patients, although the severities of these factors were not correlated with EDS. Further investigations using objective sleep tests need to be performed.

Concepts: Sleep, Sleep disorder, Parkinson's disease, Sleep apnea, Sleep medicine, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, Excessive daytime sleepiness, Sleep disorders


Beyond the cardinal motor symptoms, bradykinesia, rigidity, tremor and postural instability, defining the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, there is a big spectrum of non-motor features that patients may suffer from and that may reduce their quality of life. Non-motor symptoms are not only frequent but also often under-reported by patients and caregivers. As they are frequently under-recognized by clinicians, they remain consequently under-treated. This review wants to give a short overview of the importance of non-motor symptoms on patients' quality of life and helpful assessment tools that might facilitate recognition of non-motor features during clinical setting. Given the wide range of non-motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease, we concentrate on common issues such as depression and sleep disorders like sleep-onset insomnia or sleep maintenance insomnia and restless legs syndrome. Thereby, we present some recent studies that have investigated the efficacy of dopaminergic drugs, especially dopamine agonists, revealing possible treatment strategies and thus improving disease management.

Concepts: Parkinson's disease, Substantia nigra, Dopamine, Haloperidol, Pramipexole, Ropinirole, Restless legs syndrome, Dopamine agonist