Parkinson's treatment could be more effective, student finds

January 4, 2018, Binghamton University

A Binghamton University senior and her colleagues recently uncovered evidence that the current treatment for Parkinson's disease may not be as effective as it could be.

Lakshmi Hareendran was part of a research team investigating drug treatment for Parkinson's, a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a loss of the chemical dopamine.

The dopamine circuit involved in motor movements consists of two receptors in the brain, the D1 and the D2 receptors. The current treatment for Parkinson's is the drug L-DOPA, which acts on both of these receptors to release and replenish dopamine in the brain.

Hareendran and her colleagues in the Freshman Research Immersion program (FRI) at Binghamton provided evidence that stimulating the D2 receptor produces cognitive deficits, illustrating that L-DOPA may not be the best treatment for Parkinson's.

The researchers treated rodents with L-DOPA and drugs that target either the D1 or the D2 receptors and then observed the effects on their ability to complete a behavioral task.

Stimulating the D2 receptor caused attention deficits on the behavioral tasks in both Parkinson's and control models. Stimulating the D1 receptor produced no such effects.

"Parkinson's disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases in the world," Hareendran says. "Knowing that the current treatment isn't as effective as it could be is important."

Hareendran, 21, has wanted to be a doctor since she was growing up on Long Island, influenced by several doctors in her family. Even then, she was interested in neuroscience.

"I had an uncle who was a brain surgeon," Hareendran says. "As a kid, just thinking about him being able to understand something as complex as the human brain really inspired me to go down that path."

Hareendran wants to work with Doctors Without Borders someday. An experience with MEDLIFE, an organization that provides medical care to impoverished areas, helped to solidify her goal. Hareendran traveled with the group to Peru and Ecuador to help set up medical clinics.

"My parents are refugees from Sri Lanka," Hareendran says. "There was a genocide happening there for a while, so specifically with Doctors Without Borders I want to go and give back there."

Hareendran is also president of the Indian International Student Union and was a peer mentor for FRI after she finished the program.

Corinne Kiessling, research educator for the FRI neuroscience stream, emphasized Hareendran's dedication.

"She was one of those students that puts extra hours in, came in early, stayed late," Kiessling says. "As a peer mentor, she was very open and receptive, and she challenged students to find answers. She's a natural leader."

Explore further: New drug may treat and limit progression of Parkinson's disease

More information: urjp.psych.ucla.edu/wp-content … reads-with-Cover.pdf

Related Stories

New drug may treat and limit progression of Parkinson's disease

July 31, 2017
Researchers at Binghamton University have developed a new drug that may limit the progression of Parkinson's disease while providing better symptom relief to potentially hundreds of thousands of people with the disease.

Parkinson's disease drug shows anticancer effects

September 28, 2017
Research shows the Parkinson's disease drug carbidopa displays significant anticancer effects in both human cell lines and mice when given at normal patient dosage levels.

New technique can provide better cell transplants against Parkinson's disease

May 5, 2016
Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have used a completely new preclinical technique and analysis of tissue from patients to show exactly what happens when certain patients with Parkinson's disease are restored as a ...

New avenue to treat diabetes-related vision problems

January 22, 2014
Dopamine-restoring drugs already used to treat Parkinson's disease may also be beneficial for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness in adults, researchers have discovered.

Intracellular dopamine receptor function may offer hope to schizophrenia patients

December 9, 2016
Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that plays an important role in controlling movement, emotion and cognition. Dopamine dysfunction is believed to be one of the causes of disorders like Schizophrenia, Tourette's syndrome, ...

Recommended for you

New evidence sheds light on how Parkinson's disease may happen

June 14, 2018
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital have identified unexpected new key players in the development of an early onset form of Parkinson's disease called Parkinsonism. These key players are ...

Scientists unravel molecular mechanisms of Parkinson's disease

June 12, 2018
Detailed brain cell analysis has helped researchers uncover new mechanisms thought to underlie Parkinson's disease.

First photoactive drug to fight Parkinson's disease

June 8, 2018
An international team has designed the first potentially therapeutic photoactive drug, MRS7145, to fight Parkinson's disease, according to the new article in Journal of Controlled Release.

Researchers address sleep problems in Parkinson's disease

June 7, 2018
A team of researchers at VIB and KU Leuven has uncovered why people with a hereditary form of Parkinson's disease suffer from sleep disturbances. The molecular mechanisms uncovered in fruit flies and human stem cells also ...

Drugs that suppress immune system may protect against Parkinson's

May 31, 2018
People who take drugs that suppress the immune system are less likely to develop Parkinson's disease, according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Early synaptic dysfunction found in Parkinson's Disease

May 24, 2018
Northwestern Medicine scientists identified a cellular mechanism that leads to neurodegeneration in patients with Parkinson's disease, according to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.