Evolution of Parkinson's Over Time
According to James Beck, Ph. D., Vice President of Scientific Affairs of Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF), scientists were originally focused on the idea of using antioxidants to treat the disease. Several clinical trials were made, but most of them have failed.
However, two independent lines of research changed the focus of the field. Scientists Jeffrey Kordower, Ph.D., and David Sulzer, Ph.D., of PDF research centers changed our understanding of the role of one protein. Their research both pointed protein alpha-synuclein as the plausible culprit in the development of Parkinson’s.
Alpha-synuclein, also called Lewy bodies, are found in the brainstem, midbrain and even in the olfactory bulb. These areas in the brain are responsible for the regulation and control of the involuntary functions such as breathing, blood pressure and smooth muscles of the digestive tract, blood vessels, and heart. When these Lewy bodies clumps together abnormally, it impairs the function of the midbrain and possibly other brainstem structures.