Scientists at MIT uncover new clues about Parkinson’s disease

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Author: Simge Eva DoganPublished: 22 October 2020

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Neuroscientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US, have developed new tools that could improve understanding of Parkinson’s disease.

As part of a study, published in Science Advances, the tools were used on animals to investigate the relationship between two types of signals that are disrupted in Parkinson’s – dopamine signalling and beta-band oscillations (coordinated waves of electrical activity in the brain).

The scientists found that while the animals performed certain tasks, beta-band oscillations increased while dopamine signalling declined in particular parts of the brain. Factors including an animal’s past experience and the reward value of a task also impacted the relationship between the two signals.

Helen Schwerdt, a research scientist at MIT, said: “Considering electrical signals side by side with chemical signals is really important to understand how the brain works.”

Ann Graybiel, a professor at MIT, added: “As these methods in neuroscience become more and more precise and dazzling in their power, we’re bound to discover new things.”


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