Like everything in life, they say too much of a good thing can be bad for you! How many times have you heard this in your life? In this case, researchers have created a computer model that can be compared to the tipping point in the brain, which ultimately could be the cause for Parkinson’s disease.
The one thing that there can not be too much of is continued research in the study to find the cure for this mysterious disease. But, like most things in life, this too comes at a cost – and for this reason, Parker’s Climb is asking for your donations to Team Fox!
Approximately every seven minutes, someone in the world will be diagnosed with PD. Those odds are not good and as our society ages, this statistic is going to increase. To understand the meaning behind a statement like this, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s diseases will literally cripple our nations healthcare in years to come and this gives solid credence to why we have to cure these brain disorders.
Imagine a world without Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Imagine if you can what emotions run through your mind when someone you love is diagnosed with one of these brain disorders.
Research continues across the world to help end the threat of these diseases. Those of us who have been touched by these disorders know that life will never be the same as long as there is no cure! That statement alone is enough to drive us to the ends of the earth to help find the cure!
Nothing in life is free, everything comes at a cost, and that includes medical research. As a nation, we cannot count on our government to carry the burden for all medical research because there are many illnesses that need to be funded. We have chosen Parkinson’s disease as our primary target, but that does not mean that we do not donate towards other important medical research.
As we begin an important month, National Parkinson’s Awareness Month, I am asking for your support to help find the cure! We believe donations to the Michael J. Fox Foundation will lead to the cure for PD and other brain disorders.
Please make your generous donation to Team Fox through Parker’s Climb through our website. We cannot do this without your support! Pkp
Computer network model finds Parkinson’s tipping point
01 April 2011 by Mark Buchanan
New Scientist Tech
TOO much of a good thing can be bad for you. The synchronous firing of neurons is crucial for many ordinary brain functions, but excessive, uncontrolled synchronisation might be behind the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Now a computer model has backed up the idea.
Parkinson’s disease has been linked to a lack of dopamine, a chemical that, among other things, dampens the transmission of signals across nerve junctions called synapses. Measuring this effect in humans is not currently possible, so Leonid Rubchinsky and colleagues at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis turned instead to a computer model of neural networks.
As they boosted signal strength, the network became more prone to switching from non-synchronised to synchronised firing. By comparing the pattern of neural signals recorded from people with Parkinson’s against those predicted by the model, the team found that in Parkinson’s, the brain readily switches between synchronised and non-synchronised behaviour even when it is relaxed. This might explain the disease’s motor symptoms.
A healthy brain fires synchronously in a brief and controlled way to coordinate motor behaviour and perform tasks. The stronger connections in the brains of people with Parkinson’s mean that attempts to coordinate behaviour trigger sustained synchrony, which may make it difficult to end a task or begin a new one (Physical Review E, in press).
“This is a simple and elegant study,” says Peter Brown of the University of Oxford. “The model beautifully captures the dynamic behaviour of the system.”