Headlines 19 Neurological research from around the globe  Australia A decreased sense of smell, also called hyposmia, is a very common symptom of PD. Researchers at The University of Melbourne have begun trialling a drug called AT434 in a mouse model of PD. The treatment was found to prevent hyposmia development in animals with pre-clinical PD, and prevent the development of impaired motor skills in animals with clinical symptoms of PD. Brazil To address the treatment-resistant motor symptoms of PD, a team at the University of São Paulo Medical School tested spinal cord stimulation on 4 PD patients. They showed 50% to 65% improvement in gait measurements and 35% to 45% in Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale and quality-of- life scores. Clinical trials for spinal cord stimulation are being undertaken by a number of groups worldwide, with the aim of improving gait and balance problems in PD . Canada Researchers from the University of Toronto found that magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) of the ventralis intermediate nucleus (Vim) of the thalamus led to a 56% improvement in tremor for patients with PD, dystonia, and writer's cramp. MRgFUS is currently available in some centres around the world, including Australia. There can be some lasting side-effects, and clinical trials are ongoing to assess effectiveness in larger numbers of patients. United Kingdom The incidence of PD is increasing globally. Treatments that maintain an acceptable quality of life are critical. Researchers from Queen Mary University of London have conducted a study of the consistency of treatment availability worldwide. They found a significant reduction in the availability of drug treatments as well as non-pharmacological therapies in lower-income countries, highlighting the desperate need for more global collaboration to improve the equitable access to PD treatments and therapies . USA Researchers from The University of California in Los Angeles are currently investigating whether the bacterial make-up of our digestive system (known as the gut microbiome) could be involved in the development and progression of PD. They found a significant decrease in the diversity of bacteria found in the guts of individuals with PD, compared to healthy individuals. Interestingly, the number of certain bacteria in the gut was also associated with the clinical presentation of PD. The make-up of the gut microbiome was also predictive of a person’s particular subtype of PD, how long they have had symptoms, and even the impact of disease on their motor skills. (Please note the Neurological Foundation doesn’t contribute funding to any of these projects) Parkinson’s disease Like all sciences, neuroscience is collaborative. New Zealand researchers make an important contribution to the global effort to better understand the brain, and to develop better treatments for neurological disorders. Here is some of the Parkinson’s disease (PD) research taking place overseas that we are keeping an eye on. References