The Journal of Parkinson’s Disease has organized a special issue for Parkinson’s Awareness Month, to mark the 200th anniversary of James Parkinson’s first account of the disease that would one day bear his name.
The issue, “Milestones in 200 Years of Parkinson’s Disease Research,” is openly accessible as a service to the community.
“This remarkable collection of articles by those who helped shape our current understanding of Parkinson’s disease is unlikely to be repeated anytime soon,” J. William Langston, MD, founder of the Parkinson’s Institute and the magazine’s co-editor-in-chief, said in a press release. “And each paper has an inside look at how the research was done, and in many cases what inspired it.”
Among the special pieces in this edition:
- Robert L. Nussbaum’s “The Identification of Alpha-Synuclein as the First Parkinson Disease Gene” – recounting his identification of the first mutations in the alpha-synucleic gene that cause rare forms of hereditary Parkinson’s.
- Oleh Hornykiewicz’s “L-DOPA” – reflecting on the modern era of Parkinson’s research and on the discovery of the dopamine deficit in patients with Parkinson’s.
- Anders Björklund and Olle Lindvall’s “Replacing Dopamine Neurons in Parkinson’s Disease: How did it happen?” – recounting their cell transplantation studies to replace dopaminergic neurons in patients with Parkinson’s.
- Andrew B Singleton, John A Hardy and Thomas Gasser’s “The Birth of the Modern Era of Parkinson’s Disease Genetics” – describing how the list of mutations associated with Parkinson’s has been extended in recent years.
“The discovery of alpha-synuclein as a key component of sporadic, typical Parkinson disease was the result of research that flowed from a desire to understand the cause of a rare hereditary form of the disease that was initially dismissed by the PD research community as not being relevant to the common form of the disease,” said Nussbaum. “It underscores how important it is not to be too narrow or focused in asking research questions and instead to foster basic, curiosity-driven research in many fields, because you can never predict where important breakthroughs might come from.”
Added Patrik Brundin, MD, PhD, co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease: “We are indeed fortunate to have contributions from many of those who played key roles in reaching these milestones in PD research. These engaging first-hand accounts describe how these advances came about and their lasting impact, with the advantage of hindsight.”