Worms Might Hold Key to Parkinsonís Cure
Dundee University scientists believe that a simple worm can be a clue to why people develop Parkinsonís disease (also known as ďPDĒ).
The research, funded by The Parkinsonís Disease Society, will study a simple worm, called ďC. elegans,Ē in the hope of determining the factors that cause brains cells to die in Parkinsonís patients.
ďWith Parkinsonís on the rise, this is a truly game-changing discovery,Ē says Kay Mixson Jenkins, author of Who Is Pee Dee? Explaining Parkinsonís Disease to a Child. ďThis finding brings a lot of hope to PD patients as well as their families.Ē
Ms. Jenkins was diagnosed with Parkinsonís disease at age thirty-four. She decided to write a book to help her children understand the devastating disease. Who Is Pee Dee? follows a young boy named Colt as he tries to deal with his motherís chronic illness.
Even though worms donít develop Parkinsonís disease, scientists consider them an excellent model for PD research because they:
ē Share fifty percent of their genes with humans, including those involved with inherited Parkinsonís disease.
ē Have nerve cells that communicate with each other in a manner similar to humansí.
ē Have nervous systems similar enough to humansí that they can be used for PD studies.
ē Have nerve cells that might help to determine what causes PD patientsí brain cells to die.
ē Are among natureís simplest organisms, which makes it easier for scientists to dissect and study impact of PD and its potential treatments.
ďHopefully, the outcome of this latest research will speed up the development of a new class of drugs that can mitigate the symptoms of PD and, ultimately, lead to a cure,Ē says Ms. Jenkins.
In addition to writing Who Is Pee Dee?, Ms. Jenkins is a leader in a nationwide effort to raise awareness about PD. As the founder of Parkinsonís in the Park, an affiliated chapter of the National Parkinson Foundation, Ms. Jenkins has created an outreach program that encourages families and friends to participate in the treatment of PD patients.
Kay Mixson Jenkins is also the Georgia state co-coordinator for the Parkinsonís Action Network, leads the Effingham County Parkinsonís support group and was selected as a Parkinsonís patient advocate for UCB, Inc.
Who Is Pee Dee? Explaining Parkinsonís Disease to a Child by Kay Mixson Jenkins is available on Amazon.com.
For more information, contact the author directly at kmj@ParkinsonsInThePark.org.
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