Alzheimer's and Parkinson's under the microscope

24 June 2008

A paper about Alzheimer's and Parkinson's research by Sydney academics features as article of the month in the prestigious journal, Nature Reviews Neuroscience.

Professor Jürgen Götz and Dr Lars Ittner are based at the University's Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease Laboratory at the Brain and Mind Research Institute, having moved from the University of Zurich/Switzerland three years ago.

In the paper they review what we have learned from disease models of Alzheimer's and related dementias, and in particular how they have contributed to the early diagnosis and the prospect of a treatment strategy. They also discuss their groundbreaking work, together with research by others that has led to the identification of novel players and promising drug targets.

"At present, neither Alzheimer's nor related dementias can be cured," said Professor Götz. "Current treatment approaches include vaccination, anti-inflammatory drugs, and modulators for formation, aggregation and clearance of toxic proteins that accumulate in the brains of Alzheimer patients. Many of the new therapeutic strategies have their foundation in disease models as the work of Jürgen Götz and Lars Ittner highlights," he said.

The Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease Laboratory headed by Professor Götz works to identify the mechanisms that lead to progressive neurodegeneration and dementia, and study the effects of genetics, aging and associated disorders such as diabetes, as well as dietary aspects.

The researchers are convinced that by adopting a healthier lifestyle and introducing early diagnosis and a targeted therapy, Alzheimer's disease can be successfully treated in the near future.

The article appears in the current issue of Nature Reviews Neuroscience (Vol. 9, Issue 7, 532-544, July 2008)

Contact: Jake O'Shaughnessy

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