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Brain Clutter

November 10, 2010

An inability to clean up cellular waste may contribute to Parkinson’s disease.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Brain clutter and Parkinson’s…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A cellular housekeeping problem may contribute to the devastating impairments of Parkinson’s disease. This according to University of Cambridge neuro-geneticist David Rubinzstein and his colleagues. They found that a protein called alpha-synuclein, which accumulates in the brains of Parkinson’s patients, inhibits a natural clean-up process called autophagy.

DAVID RUBINZSTEIN (University of Cambridge):
It removes dysfunctional organelles like mitochondria. And if one looks at the literature on Parkinson’s disease, there’s a wealth of data suggesting there are mitochondrial abnormalities.

HIRSHON:
Autophagy also gets rid of clumped proteins linked with dementia and motor problems. The findings suggest that reinvigorating the cellular cleanup system may be a good strategy for future treatments. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.