Breakthrough could fast-track Parkinson’s treatment

A breakthrough in Parkinson's research could eventually see a treatment for the currently incurable neurological disease.

Parkinson's currently affects 80,000 Australians, causing nerve cell damage in the brain which leads to body tremors, stiffness, and eventually death.

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Ian McLean, 47 has suffered from Parkinson's for more than 10 years, the condition attacking his nervous system.

Ian McLean, 47 has suffered from Parkinson's for more than 10 years, the condition attacking his nervous system.

"I lost my sense of smell, my right eye started to wander," Mr McLean said.

"It just affects everything, every facet of your life."

What causes Parkinson's disease has previously baffled researchers, but Melbourne scientists believe they have made a crucial breakthrough.

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Breakthrough in Parkinson's research could eventually see a treatment for the currently incurable neurological disease.

An eight-year study has led to better understanding of a particular protein, which is believed to contribute to the neurological damage symptomatic of Parkinson's.

"We hope that this will cure Parkinson's disease," Associate Professor Grant Dewson from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute said.

Snapshots of the protein were stitched together to create the first detailed insight into how and why it impacts brain cells, causing them to slowly malfunction, and eventually die.

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Parkinson's currently affects 80,000 Australians.

Scientists hope these blueprints will be crucial in determining a cure or new ways to slow the progression of the condition.

Although there are currently medications that treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, there is no cure.

Mr McLean believes the breakthrough could provide hope for the thousands whose lives have been impacted.

"It will give people like me a chance at a normal life again," he said.

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