Can the Brain Repair Itself?

Once Parkinson’s progression is stopped, the brain may have the capacity to repair its own neuronal circuitry. Stopping the disease progression and neuronal repair have always been thought of as two separate challenges that only together constitute a “cure”. In other words, in order to cure Parkinson’s first you need to stop the disease process, the pathological cascade, and then you must invent a new therapy for regrowing neurons to replace the ones that were lost.

The common perception is that the brain is not capable of repairing itself when injured, and that neuronal circuitry cannot regrow. Yet researchers at Keele University in the UK found that the brain initiates a repair and regrowth response after destruction of nigro-striatal neurons in a rodent model. Specifically, the researchers were able to observe which proteins the cells employ in their repair response.

The researchers do not conclude that the human brain will be able to regrow and restore normal function all by itself. However, the researchers have a much better idea which proteins will need to be expressed in a future human therapy that involves regrowth of neurons. Gene therapy may provide the answer for permanently halting the Parkinson’s pathological cascade, and the same therapy may also help prepare the brain for repair of its own neuronal circuitry.

  • Description: “Idiopathic Parkinson’s disease is marked by degeneration of dopamine neurons projecting from the substantia nigra to the striatum. Although proteins expressed by the target striatum can positively affect the viability and growth of dopaminergic neurons, very little is known about the molecular respo…
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Annette is a fundraising consultant whose husband was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Annette found a team of scientists working on a technology she thinks can stop Parkinson's. She was then able to raise funding for the project from multiple financial donors. And that's how Stop Parkinson's was born.

5 thoughts on “Can the Brain Repair Itself?”

  1. fighting non motor cognitive symptoms. quit requip. next is sinemet.
    i believe lifestyle changes can help tremendously.
    sleep, low stress, diet, exercise. going to try and be med free.

    1. Pam, we can’t comment on medications as that is a subject between patients and their physicians. However, it sounds like Miguel is suggesting that the same symptoms reduction can be achieved with lifestyle changes. If achievable, one benefit of this method might be the lack of side-effects.

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