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Mapping the future of precision medicine in Parkinson's disease

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Mapping the future of precision medicine in Parkinson's disease

March 22, 2017
University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
A new transformative approach to defining, studying and treating Parkinson's disease has been revealed by investigators. Rather than approaching Parkinson's disease as a single entity, the international cadre of researchers advocates targeting therapies to distinct 'nodes or clusters' of patients based on specific symptoms or molecular features of their disease.
Very interesting article. What do you think about it?

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I have read about this recently and am interested in this novel approach. I do understand the reasoning behind it and how it would be beneficial for the PD patient. Since the inception of this disease, which was discovered 200 years ago this year, we have not been able to find a cure even tough we believe we know exactly where the issue stemmed from and the process that effects it. There have been great strides in medication therapy over the years to help control the symptoms and the introduction of DBS has greatly improved the quality of life of so many people afflicted with this neurodegenerative disease.

In a superficial way this concept is already being achieved through medication management. I know this is a simplistic form of what the article is referring to, so I am not sure if the procedure spoken about in this article could cover the the amount of "symptoms" Parkinson's Disease is attributed to. 

The are two questions I have after reading this article: (1) how many procedures have to be done to "correct" the  multitude of symptoms or issues that result from having PD, and (2) how will they be able to differentiate between PD related issues and the organic issues (ie. depression) that would have become present even if the person did not have PD. When we talk about possible issues of PD, the list is long and contains the obvious and not so obvious: Tremor, muscle stiffness, dystonia, problems with coordination, gait issues, balance, fatigue, restless sleep, daytime drowsiness, possible dementia, forgetfulness, anxiety, mental confusion, depression, speech impairment, inability to communicate, loss of smell, urinary problems, weight loss, constipation, difficulty swallowing, drooling, facial masking, and issues with writing. This by no means is a complete list and was just a list I compliled off the top of my head. The other issue of concern is that some of the symptoms can exacerbate other symptoms of PD. An example of this would be how anxiety can exacerbate tremors, restlessness, and possible confusion.

I believe that any research that focuses on PD is good research. I appreciate researchers who are thinking out of the box and looking at this disease from different angels. I have always stood by the phrase, "Find the cause, find the cure." I am hopeful that this may lead to possibly helping limit or eliminate the main symptoms a person may be experiencing as a result of having PD. In this same spirit I also hope that stem cell research can lead further into the possibility of eradicating PD at the most or limiting the disease progression at the least.

I hope this helps and please keep me posted.

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