Breakthrough in genetics 'to further Parkinson's research'

Breakthrough in genetics 'to further Parkinson's research'

New research which has shed new light on the genetics involved in Parkinson's disease looks set to advance research into the condition.

Scientists at the University College London Institute of Neurology have found that changes in the gene known as PINK1 may cause Parkinson's.

The gene in question produces a protein essential for keeping mitochondria, which produce energy for nerve cells, healthy and working well.

In a healthy brain, mitochondria cut the PINK1 protein, but if faulty versions of the gene are inherited, the PINK1 protein build up inside the cell and damages the mitochondria, leading to the death of nerve cells which causes Parkinson's.

Researcher Dr Emma Deas commented that this discovery would facilitate the development of new and better treatments for people with the disease.

"Being able to show members of the branches around our lab and explain what we do to the people directly affected by Parkinson's is very motivating for all of us," she added.

Meanwhile, research from the University of Manchester suggests that many debilitating illnesses including Parkinson's can be warded off by eating purple fruits such as blueberries.

Find the nearest Barchester nursing home.