University of Nebraska Medical Center researchers are reporting a breakthrough in the study of Parkinson’s disease.
One of the researchers, Dr. Pamela Santamaria, says the current study is getting to the root of what causes the disease.
“So, it’s actually helping to treat the underlying disease process rather than just treating the physical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease,” Santamaria tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.
This is important nationally, but also statewide.
Santamaria points out the disease has hit the state hard. It has been reported that Nebraska has the highest incident of Parkinson’s disease, though that likely is distorted by the fact that Nebraska has a Parkinson’s registry and many states do not.
Still, some aspects of Nebraska, especially its heavy reliance on agriculture, could contribute to the numbers.
“There may be a genetic basis for some people to develop Parkinson’s, but there are some environmental association with Parkinson’s,” Santamaria says. “One is thought that herbicide, pesticides that are used, especially in rural communities, patients who grew up in those communities do have a higher incident of Parkinson’s disease.”
Santamaria says the initial study showed improvements in some patients’ tremors, in their posture, as well as their dexterity. Santamaria says validation will require larger patient enrollments in future studies.
Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this report.