What TDO about KMO?

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New approaches for potentially slowing the progression of Parkinson’s are being announced on a regular basis. Some of them can not be independently replicated (such is the nature of science), while others open up whole new areas of research.

Recently scientists have reported that inhibiting certain aspects of the kynurenine pathway – which plays a critical role in generating energy in cells – can have neuroprotective results in models of Parkinson’s.

Many of the results have been independently replicated and the findings are now resulting in a new class of drug heading for clinical testing.

In today’s post, we will delve into what the kynurenine pathway is, explore how it relates to Parkinson’s, and discuss some of the approaches soon heading for the clinic.

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Structure of tryptophan. Source: Wikipedia

Tryptophan is one of eight essential amino acids.

Amino acids are the fundamental building blocks of proteins in biology, but the “essential” label in this case does not refer to its necessity (although it is necessary), but rather the fact that it cannot be made by our bodies. As a result, all essential amino acids must come from the food we consume.

Tryptophan has many functions within the body:

  • it is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin (which influences your mood, cognition, and behaviour)
  • it is a precursor of the hormone melatonin (which governs your sleep-wake cycle)
  • it is a precursor of vitamin B3 (naicin)

Source: Wikimedia

More importantly, however, tryptophan is also involved in kynurenine synthesis.

What is kynurenine synthesis?

Continue reading “What TDO about KMO?”

Don’t get mad! Get NAD!

Recently researchers have provided very interesting evidence that a form of vitamin B3, called Nicotinamide Riboside, may have beneficial effects for Parkinson’s.

Their data suggests that nicotinamide riboside was able to rescue problems in mitochondria – the power stations of cells – in both fly and human cell-based models of Parkinson’s.

And the results also suggest that this treatment could prevent the neurodegeneration of dopamine producing neurons.

In today’s post, we will discuss what nicotinamide riboside is, what is does in the body, how it may be having its beneficial effect, and we will consider the pros and cons of taking it as a supplement.

My pile of research reports to read. Source: Reddit

We have a serious problem in biomedical research at the moment.

Serious for ‘planet research’ that is (Good for ‘planet patient’! – click here to understand this sentence).

The problem is very simple: there is too much research going on, and there is now too much information to be absorbed. 

There has been an incredible increase in the number of research reports for ‘Parkinson’s’:

For Parkinson’s research alone, every day there is about 20 new research reports (approximately 120 per week). It used to be the case that there was one big research report per year. Then progress got to the crazy point of one big finding per month. And now things are ‘completely kray kray’ (as my 5 year old likes to say), with one new major finding every week!

On top of this, everyday there are new methodology reports, new breakthroughs in other fields that could relate to what is happening in PD, new clinical trial results, etc… The image below perfectly represents how many researchers are currently feeling with regards to the information flow:

How I feel most days. Source: Lean

Don’t get me wrong.

These are very exciting times, big steps are being made in our understanding of conditions like Parkinson’s. It’s just that it is really hard keeping up with the amazing flow of new data.

And this is certainly apparent here on the SoPD website. Occasionally, a few days after I publish something on a particular topic on the SoPD website, a fascinating new research report on that same topic will be published. When I get a chance to read it, I will sometimes add an addendum to the bottom of a post highlighting the new research.

Every now and then, however, the new research deserves a post all of its own.

Which is the case today.

A week after I published the recent Vitamin B3/Niacin post, a new study was published that dealt with a different form of Vitamin B3, called Nicotinamide Riboside. And the results of that study were really interesting.

Wait a minute. Vitamin B3 comes in different forms?

Continue reading “Don’t get mad! Get NAD!”