Scientists Say Parkinson’s Treatment Rewires Brain
Researchers have discovered how gene therapy relieves symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in some patients, according to a study published yesterday in Science Translational Medicine. Shaking and muscle stiffness caused by overstimulation of the subthalamic nucleus — the part of the brain that coordinates motor skills — were alleviated as gene therapy slowed activity in that area. The treatment blocked disease-causing pathways, prompting patients’ brains to develop new connections. Now the scientists, who described the effect as “adaptive rewiring,” are planning a larger gene therapy trial for Parkinson’s patients next year.