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Parkinson's disease 'caused by loss of habits'

Parkinson's disease 'caused by loss of habits'
20th October 2010

An international collaboration between scientific researchers has brought a cure for Parkinson's disease a step closer to reality, it is claimed.

Led by researchers at the University of Sheffield, the study found that many of the problems associated with Parkinson's disease - such as tremors and movement problems - can be understood in terms of damage to the part of the brain that controls habits.

These findings help to explain why, in some cases, removing part of the brain can help Parkinson's disease patients to regain some control of movement.

The study's lead author Professor Peter Redgrave from the University of Sheffield says that with the loss of habit, older people have to think about how to carry out movements, which slows them down.

"This is important because the better your understanding of normal function, the better the questions you can ask about its failings, which hopefully, will direct you towards more effective treatments," he said.

Parkinson's disease affects one in every 500 people in the UK, according to the charity Parkinson's UK.

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