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Brain Energy Roundup

October 29, 2010

Researchers are starting to understand why Parkinson’s disease disrupts signals between the brain and muscles.

Transcript

New insights into Parkinson’s disease. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The brain needs a lot of energy—about twenty percent of the body’s total energy budget. Now an international team of scientists reports in the journal Science Translational Medicine that a breakdown in the brain’s energy supply may be responsible for Parkinson’s disease. The researchers found ten sets of genes that malfunction in people with Parkinson’s. The genes regulate tiny structures called mitochondria that produce energy for cells—in this case, brain cells that control our muscles. The finding could lead to new treatments for Parkinsons.

In other brain research, a study in the journal Psychologia reports that an electrical shock to the brain’s right anterior temporal lobe boosts the recall of names. Understanding how the structure works could help in the rehabilitation of stroke victims. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.