Exercise can slow progression of Parkinson’s disease

Washington D.C. [U.S.], Dec 24 : A study has recently found that exercising on a running wheel can stop the accumulation of a protein molecule in the brain, which is believed to play a central role in the degenerative disease Parkinson's. According to researchers, exercising on a running wheel can stop the accumulation of the neuronal protein alpha-synuclein in brain cells as clumps of alpha-synuclein are believed to play a central role in the brain cell death associated with Parkinson's disease. Lead researcher Wenbo Zhou from the University Of Colorado's anschutz medical campus in Denver, U.S. along with his team conducted a study on mice with Parkinson's symptoms in mid-life. At 12 months of age, running wheels were put in their cages. After three months, the results revealed that the running animals showed much better movement and cognitive function compared to control transgenic animals which had locked running wheels. They found that in the running mice, exercise increased brain and muscle expression of a key protective gene called DJ-1. Those rare humans born with a mutation in their DJ-1 gene are guaranteed to get severe Parkinson's at a relatively young age. The researchers tested mice that were missing the DJ-1 gene and discovered that their ability to run had severely declined, suggesting that the DJ-1 protein is required for normal movement. Another researcher Curt Freed explained that the results indicate that exercise may slow the progression of Parkinson's disease by turning on the protective gene DJ-1 and thereby preventing abnormal protein accumulation in brain. He explained that his animal experiments had very real implications for humans. People with Parkinson's who exercise are likely to keep their brain cells from dying, the researchers stated. Parkinson's is a disease caused by the death of brain cells that make a critical chemical called dopamine. Without dopamine, voluntary movement is impossible. The research appears in the journal PLOS ONE.
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