PINK1, a gene associated with Parkinson's disease, is not just responsible for the premature death of dopaminergic neurons, it also plays a key role in the neurogenesis of dopamine neurons throughout life.
Dopamine neurons in the midbrain become active in a previously undetected way when an animal considers a reward that is changing in value.
Focusing attention on a neural pathway starting at the periaqueductal grey region of the midbrain, researchers made a novel discovery about how dopamine generates different pain responses in male and female mice. Findings indicate dopamine may reduce pain sensitivity in males, whereas, in females, dopamine helps focus attention elsewhere in the presence of pain.
A smoking cessation drug called cytisine may be a helpful new tool for the treatment of Parkinson's disease in women. Cytisine was found to reduce the loss of dopamine neurons. The effect was more pronounced when estrogen was present.
Grafting neurons derived from a monkey's own stem cells reversed the debilitating and mental health symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease. The treatment shows promise for alleviating the symptoms of Parkinson's in humans.
Anti-psychotic drugs do not only block dopamine signaling in the brain, they also block dopamine signaling in the pancreas. Blocking dopamine signaling in the pancreas leads to uncontrolled production of blood-glucose regulating hormones, increasing obesity and diabetes risks.
From helping to reduce depression to boosting dopamine in the reward system, researchers review how taking up a hobby can have positive effects on mental health.
Combining PET neuroimaging with a specific intravenous radioactive compound allows researchers to distinguish Lewy Body Dementia from Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's in brain scans.