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Neurotransmitter removal in Parkinson's patients may improve brain functioning

Neurotransmitter removal in Parkinson's patients may improve brain functioning
9th November 2011

Removing one of the neurotransmitters in the part of the brain associated with Parkinson's disease may improve brain functioning without major adverse effects, according to a recent study.

Researchers at the University of Western Ontario investigated the effect of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine on the brain and discovered that the neurons secrete a neurotransmitter called glutamate.

Marco Prado, scientist at Robarts Research Institute, stated: "This suggests that perhaps glutamate secreted by these neurons plays a more important role in [the striatum] than was originally suspected."

Scientists found that they could stop acetylcholine secretion without disturbing brain function, which boosts the actions of dopamine.

It is expected that this will have significant implications for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, as it has previously been found that dopamine improves motor symptoms in patients.

Dopamine deficiency in Parkinson's patients is also thought to cause loss of muscle control and paralysis, due to the disruption of coordinated activity in the circuit.

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