Other videos about our project can be found on our YouTube channel!
Neurodegenerative diseases are a unique challenge in a world with an increasingly ageing population. In 2019, over 750,000 people were diagnosed with Dementia and a further 120,000 with Parkinson’s disease.
This represents a large proportion of the population that will either be diagnosed or be affected by a neurodegenerative disorder. The current treatment options for these diseases focus on alleviating symptoms rather than preventing the neurodegeneration in the first place. The amino acid levodopa is the main treatment for patients in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease. It acts as a precursor to dopamine and is converted to dopamine in the brain. Levodopa replaces the dopamine that is lost via the death of dopaminergic neurons which usually produce dopamine. Treatments like levopoda can be used to inhibit motor function decline, but their effectiveness is short lived as neurodegeneration continues to ravage the brain.
Our project aims at neuroprotection before significant damage has occurred. At the moment, around 50% of neurons in the substantia nigra are already incapacitated by the time Parkinson’s disease can be diagnosed and motor dysfunction is already visible. This highlights the need for treatment before diagnosis until biomarkers can be found for early diagnosis. We believe that finding a treatment to enhance neuroprotection would be a massive step to solving the neurodegenerative disease crisis.