They all talk about in different amount of detail about the drugs and technique used to improve the amount of dopamine that is produced in the brain in order to fix the damaged brain cells. Most of the articles include information about the causes of Parkinson’s disease, they talk about the importance that dopamine has for controlling movement of the body. The technique where the growth factor glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is pumped into the area of the brain where it can act to improve the production of dopamine has been tried in five patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease. It has been found to have significant positive effects on both the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and on the growth of dopamine-producing brain cells (Coles, 2002)
All the articles talk about how successful these new drugs and technique appears to be, but many only focus on the story of treatment that has only been tested on one patient, but most do emphasise the preliminary nature of research. The articles in The Sun does not fully describe the experimental treatment while, of the more extensive reports, most make it clear that the treatment may not lead to a long-term cure and may only help for a couple of months and may not work on all sufferers as stated in The Daily Telegraph (Derbyshire, 2002).
But in The guardian it also states that it is the first time that patients have shown such encouraging response from pumping the drug GDNF into the brain as it (Meikle, 2002). Then in 2003 it was found that GDNF did work and was being prescribed to patients in America and had also been funded to have trial in Bristol. It helped patients with Parkinson’s disease to walk talk and even smile again. But then suddenly in 2004 it had to be taken of the market as researchers found that it caused brain damage and so research is still being done today to try and find a way to ease and treat Parkinson sufferers (Murfitt, 2006).
Parkinson develops around the age of 65 and around 6.3 million people suffer from the disease. The patient may have Parkinson’s disease long before they are diagnose with it as it comes on slowly and develops over time but there are four main early symptoms that someone close or a family member may notice before the sufferer realises there is something wrong. It is difficult to diagnose Parkinson’s and it may be misdiagnosed the best way to find out whether a patient has Parkinson’s disease is an autopsy which can take months to get an appointment for. Research need to be done to get patient a better diagnosis of this disease rather than mistreating many patient which can be stressfull for both the patient and the carer.
Parkinson’s disease dementia affects around forty percent of Parkinson’s sufferers and those who suffer from Parkinson’s disease are six times more likely to have dementia than a healthy adult over the age of 50. It has been proven that there is a 10 to 15 year time lag between getting Parkinson’s which normally occurs first and then dementia. Parkinson patient are found with one of two types of dementia, one where the Lewy bodies occupy the brain and the brain stem and the other being Lewy bodies in the brainstem and Alzheimer’s changes in the brain. Some drugs used to treat dementia actually increase the cognitive patients with Parkinson’s disease rather than improve the symptoms of dementia. And so this shows that dementia may not actually be caused by Parkinson’s but some other problem associated with the Parkinson’s. More research should go into this topic as there iss very little information about Parkinson’s and dementia only that it can occur in Parkinson sufferers.
A cure for Parkinson’s should be available at some time in the future or a very good treatment to stop the disease progressing but to achieve this scientists and patients must work closely together this is very important as each Parkinson’s sufferer is different and reacts to treatment differently. GDNF is a hugely exciting the concept of using growth factors delivered specifically into the brain could be applied to other neurological conditions but so much work and research must still be done to find the right treatment for Parkinson’s disease sufferers. Further research that cam be looked at is why each Parkinson’s disease sufferer reacts differently to treatment and more participants taking place in trial rather than just testing on a sufferer.
Bonuccelli, U. (2004) Abstracts of the XII Congress of the Italian Society of Psychophysiology (SIPF). Journal of Psychophysiology. 20(3) 212-222.
Blanpain, C., Lowry, W., Geoghegan, A., Polak, L., Fuchs, E. (2004) Self-renewal, multipotency, and the existence of two cell populations within an epithelial stem cell niche. Cell, 118, 635-648
Coles, J. (2002) Docs hail miracle cure. The Sun. 19th of April. Available from: http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2002180300,00.html [Accessed 27th December 2006]
Derbyshire, D. (2002) New treatment helps Parkinson’s sufferer to laugh. Daily Telegraph. 19th April. Available from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=%2Fnews%2F2002%2F04%2F19%2Fnpark19.xml [Accessed 27th December 2006]