Mental Health

Study kindles new hope for a cure for Parkinson’s Disease

A new study may open the way for Parkinson’s treatment New Delhi, March 10: Efforts to find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease is expected to get a big boost with researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras finding that energy deficiency in certain cells in the human brain could be a major cause for the development of the neurodegenerative disorder. Parkinson’s Second Largest Mental Disease Parkinson’s Disease is the second most prominent neurodegenerative disease across the world after Alzheimer’s disease. More than 200 years after it was first described by Dr. James Parkinson as “shaking palsy,” the world is still searching for a cure. Currently, the medical intervention is focused mainly on the management of the disease. It is known that Parkinson’s Disease is caused by the loss of a group of cells called dopaminergic cells in a portion of the midbrain called substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc). However, the decisive cause of this cell loss has not been elucidated before. The new study could fill the gap. The IIT Madras researchers developed a computational model that showed that energy deficiency might be a major reason for the loss of the specific cells in Parkinson’s Disease. The computational model was developed by Dr. Vignayanandam Ravindernath Muddapu, who completed his Ph.D. recently at IIT Madras, under the guidance of Prof. V. Srinivasa Chakravarthy at the Department of Biotechnology in IIT Madras. Dr. Mudappu is presently associated as a post-doctoral research scholar with the Blue Brain Project of EPFL, which is a technical university based in Switzerland. The Blue Brain project aims to establish simulation neuroscience as a complementary approach alongside experimental, theoretical, and clinical neuroscience to understanding the brain, by building the world’s first biologically detailed digital reconstructions and simulations of the mouse brain. Elaborating on the important findings of this research, Prof. Chakravarthy, said, “While existing treatments manage Parkinson’s Disease symptoms – sometimes with great effect – a cure demands an understanding of the root cause of SNc cell loss. This is the main question addressed in our work.” This research was conducted at IIT-Madras’s Computational Neuroscience Laboratory, which aims…

Health news

A new platform to measure DNA modifications can have potential application in the early detection of cancer, Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s

New Delhi 24 FEB 2021: Scientists have developed a new technique to measure DNA modifications that can have applications in the early diagnosis of multiple diseases like Cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s diseases. Alteration in DNA affects their expression and functions. DNA controls cell survival through the genetic code as well as via modifications to its structure. There is a demand for techniques with very high resolution to measure such modifications of DNA structures and observe and understand the molecular mechanisms associated with it to track rare diseases. The platform developed by a team of scientists led by Professor Gautam Soni The novel nanopore-based platform developed by the scientists can directly measure such modifications or branched DNA properties with the single-molecule resolution even with extremely low amounts of sample. The platform and associated analysis techniques developed by a team of scientists led by Professor Gautam Soni from Raman Research Institute, an autonomous Institute funded by the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India can quantitatively assess the distribution of supercoiled branches on DNA plasmids (DNA molecule outside the chromosome). This research work done by researchers Sumanth Kumar, Koushik S., and Dr. Soni has been recently published in the journal ‘Nanoscale’. The measurement principle of the novel platform is analogous to the Archimedes principle. Individual analyte molecules are driven through a nanopore under an applied voltage, which, during translocation, results in a tiny electrical blip. Charges excluded by the analyte  (supercoiled  DNA)  in the  nanopore is directly proportional to the volume of the particle and is directly measured as the current change. This method utilizes extremely low amounts of sample and can measure DNA structural changes ranging to a few nanometers resolution in the axis perpendicular to the translocation and few tens of nanometers along the translocation axis. Further optimization of the technique can help in the development of portable nano-bio sensors for detection and quantification of protein aggregates and cell-free DNA or nucleosomes. This may help in the early diagnosis of many diseases like Cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s diseases. Currently, researchers at RRI are also exploring applications of this method…