A new study from UCLA found that a drug being evaluated to treat an entirely different disorder helped slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease in mice. The study, published in the October edition of the journal Neurotherapeutics, found that the drug, AT2101, which has also been studied for Gaucher disease, improved motor function, stopped inflammation in the brain and reduced levels of alpha-synuclein, a protein critically involved in Parkinson’s.

Although the exact cause of Parkinson’s is unknown, evidence points to an accumulation of alpha-synuclein, which has been found to be common to all people with the disorder. The protein is thought to destroy the neurons in the brain that make dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate a number of functions, including movement and coordination. Dopamine deficiency is associated with Parkinson’s disease. 

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