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

Journal: Journal of movement disorders


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder arising from an interplay between genetic and environmental risk factors. Studies have suggested that the pathological hallmarks of intraneuronal α-synuclein aggregations may start from the olfactory bulb and the enteric nervous system of the gut and later propagate to the brain via the olfactory tract and the vagus nerve. This hypothesis correlates well with clinical symptoms, such as constipation, that may develop up to 20 years before the onset of PD motor symptoms. Recent interest in the gut-brain axis has led to vigorous research into the gastrointestinal pathology and gut microbiota changes in patients with PD. In this review, we provide current clinical and pathological evidence of gut involvement in PD by summarizing the changes in gut microbiota composition and gut inflammation associated with its pathogenesis.


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease with heterogeneous pathological and clinical features. Cognitive dysfunction, a frequent non-motor complication, is a risk factor for poor prognosis and shows inter-individual variation in its progression. Of the clinical studies performed to identify biomarkers of PD progression, the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) study is the largest study that enrolled drug-naïve and very early stage PD patients. The baseline characteristics of the PPMI cohort were recently published. The diagnostic utility of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers, including alpha-synuclein (α-syn), total tau, phosphorylated tau at Thr181, and amyloid β1-42, was not satisfactory. However, the baseline data on CSF biomarkers in the PPMI study suggested that the measurement of the CSF biomarkers enables the prediction of future cognitive decline in PD patients, which was consistent with previous studies. To prove the hypothesis that the interaction between Alzheimer’s pathology and α-syn pathology is important to the progression of cognitive dysfunction in PD, longitudinal observational studies must be followed. In this review, the neuropathological nature of heterogeneous cognitive decline in PD is briefly discussed, followed by a summarized interpretation of baseline CSF biomarkers derived from the data in the PPMI study. The combination of clinical, biochemical, genetic and imaging biomarkers of PD constitutes a feasible strategy to predict the heterogeneous progression of PD.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Scientific method, Epidemiology, Neurology, Neurodegenerative disorders, Parkinson's disease, Hypothesis, Alpha-synuclein


Here we argue functional neuroanatomy for posture-gait control. Multi-sensory information such as somatosensory, visual and vestibular sensation act on various areas of the brain so that adaptable posture-gait control can be achieved. Automatic process of gait, which is steady-state stepping movements associating with postural reflexes including headeye coordination accompanied by appropriate alignment of body segments and optimal level of postural muscle tone, is mediated by the descending pathways from the brainstem to the spinal cord. Particularly, reticulospinal pathways arising from the lateral part of the mesopontine tegmentum and spinal locomotor network contribute to this process. On the other hand, walking in unfamiliar circumstance requires cognitive process of postural control, which depends on knowledges of self-body, such as body schema and body motion in space. The cognitive information is produced at the temporoparietal association cortex, and is fundamental to sustention of vertical posture and construction of motor programs. The programs in the motor cortical areas run to execute anticipatory postural adjustment that is optimal for achievement of goal-directed movements. The basal ganglia and cerebellum may affect both the automatic and cognitive processes of posturegait control through reciprocal connections with the brainstem and cerebral cortex, respectively. Consequently, impairments in cognitive function by damages in the cerebral cortex, basal ganglia and cerebellum may disturb posture-gait control, resulting in falling.

Concepts: Psychology, Neuron, Neuroanatomy, Brain, Human brain, Cognition, Cerebral cortex, Basal ganglia


We sought to identify whether the characteristics of long-term visit-to-visit blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) are related to baseline cognitive profiles in, Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Concepts: Blood, Cognition, Artery, Parkinson's disease, Pulse, Vein, Ventricle, James Parkinson


To explore whether the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) can be used to screen for dementia or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in less educated patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Educational psychology, Dementia


Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is an adult-onset, progressive neurodegenerative disorder. Patients with MSA show various phenotypes during the course of their illness, including parkinsonism, cerebellar ataxia, autonomic failure, and pyramidal signs. Patients with MSA sometimes present with isolated autonomic failure or motor symptoms/ signs. The median duration from onset to the concomitant appearance of motor and autonomic symptoms is approximately 2 years but can range up to 14 years. As the presence of both motor and autonomic symptoms is essential for the current diagnostic criteria, early diagnosis is difficult when patients present with isolated autonomic failure or motor symptoms/signs. In contrast, patients with MSA may show severe autonomic failure and die before the presentation of motor symptoms/signs, which are currently required for the diagnosis of MSA. Recent studies have also revealed that patients with MSA may show nonsupporting features of MSA such as dementia, hallucinations, and vertical gaze palsy. To establish early diagnostic criteria and clinically definitive categorization for the successful development of disease-modifying therapy or symptomatic interventions for MSA, research should focus on the isolated phase and atypical symptoms to develop specific clinical, imaging, and fluid biomarkers that satisfy the requirements for objectivity, for semi- or quantitative measurements, and for uncomplicated, worldwide availability. Several novel techniques, such as automated compartmentalization of the brain into multiple parcels for the quantification of gray and white matter volumes on an individual basis and the visualization of α-synuclein and other candidate serum and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers, may be promising for the early and clinically definitive diagnosis of MSA.


Parkinson’s disease (PD), the second most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s disease, is characterized by the loss of nigral dopaminergic neurons. PD leads to a series of clinical symptoms, including motor and non-motor disturbances. α-synuclein, the major component of Lewy bodies, is a hallmark lesion in PD. In this review, we concentrate on presenting the latest research on the structure, distribution, and function of α-synuclein, and its interactions with PD. We also summarize the clinic applications of α-synuclein, which suggest its use as a biomarker, and the latest progress in α-synuclein therapy.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Neurology, Neurodegenerative disorders, Parkinson's disease, Dementia, Dopamine, Alpha-synuclein, Lewy body


Autonomic symptoms are commonly observed in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and often limit the activities of daily living. The Scale for Outcomes in Parkinson’s disease-Autonomic (SCOPA-AUT) was developed to evaluate and quantify autonomic symptoms in PD. The goal of this study was to translate the original SCOPA-AUT, which was written in English, into Korean and to evaluate its reliability and validity for Korean PD patients.

Concepts: Parkinson's disease, Psychometrics


Gene therapy is a potential therapeutic strategy for treating hereditary movement disorders, including hereditary ataxia, dystonia, Huntington’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Genome editing is a type of genetic engineering in which DNA is inserted, deleted or replaced in the genome using modified nucleases. Recently, clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat/CRISPR associated protein 9 (CRISPR/Cas9) has been used as an essential tool in biotechnology. Cas9 is an RNA-guided DNA endonuclease enzyme that was originally associated with the adaptive immune system of Streptococcus pyogenes and is now being utilized as a genome editing tool to induce double strand breaks in DNA. CRISPR/Cas9 has advantages in terms of clinical applicability over other genome editing technologies such as zinc-finger nucleases and transcription activator-like effector nucleases because of easy in vivo delivery. Here, we review and discuss the applicability of CRISPR/Cas9 to preclinical studies or gene therapy in hereditary movement disorders.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Genetics, Bacteria, Transcription, Molecular biology, Virus


In Parkinson’s disease (PD), vitamin B12 levels are lower, and comorbid B12 deficiency has been associated with the development of neuropathy and early gait instability. Because little is known about B12 supplement use in PD, we sought to evaluate its use in a large PD cohort and, as an exploratory analysis, to determine whether baseline characteristics or disease progression differed according to B12 supplementation.