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Dopamine is a hormone and neurotransmitter occurring in a wide variety of animals, including both vertebrates and invertebrates. In the brain, this phenethylamine functions as a neurotransmitter, activating the five types of dopamine receptors — D1, D2, D3, D4 and D5, and their variants. Dopamine is produced in several areas of the brain, including the substantia nigra and the ventral tegmental area. Dopamine is also a neurohormone released by the hypothalamus. Its main function as a hormone is to inhibit the release of prolactin from the anterior lobe of the pituitary. Dopamine has many functions in the brain, including important roles in behavior and cognition, motor activity, motivation and reward, inhibition of prolactin production (involved in lactation), sleep, mood, attention, and learning. Dopaminergic neurons (i.e., neurons whose primary neurotransmitter is dopamine) are present chiefly in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the midbrain, substantia nigra pars compacta, and arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus.
Oral administration of Jakinibs reduces Parkinson's disease pathogenesis in rat model

Oral administration of Jakinibs reduces Parkinson's disease pathogenesis in rat model

University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers report the first documentation that suppressing a key cell-signaling pathway in a rat model of Parkinson's disease reduces pathogenesis. Oral administration of AZD1480 — one of the JAK/STAT pathway inhibitors generally known as Jakinibs — lessened the destructive inflammation and nerve cell degradation in the area of the brain affected by Parkinson's. [More]
Lund study shows transplanted nerve cells can survive for many years in diseased human brain

Lund study shows transplanted nerve cells can survive for many years in diseased human brain

In the late 1980s and over the 1990s, researchers at Lund University in Sweden pioneered the transplantation of new nerve cells into the brains of patients with Parkinson's disease. The outcomes proved for the first time that transplanted nerve cells can survive and function in the diseased human brain. Some patients showed marked improvement after the transplantation while others showed moderate or no relief of symptoms. [More]
Nuplazid (pimavanserin) tablets approved to treat hallucinations and delusions

Nuplazid (pimavanserin) tablets approved to treat hallucinations and delusions

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Nuplazid (pimavanserin) tablets, the first drug approved to treat hallucinations and delusions associated with psychosis experienced by some people with Parkinson's disease. [More]
Researchers explore changes in Parkinson's-affected cells at different stages of the disease

Researchers explore changes in Parkinson's-affected cells at different stages of the disease

It's an unsettling thought: You could be walking around for 20 years developing Parkinson's disease and not even know it. [More]
Dopamine neuron transplants controlled by designer drug may fight Parkinson's disease in mice

Dopamine neuron transplants controlled by designer drug may fight Parkinson's disease in mice

A University of Wisconsin-Madison neuroscientist has inserted a genetic switch into nerve cells so a patient can alter their activity by taking designer drugs that would not affect any other cell. The cells in question are neurons and make the neurotransmitter dopamine, whose deficiency is the culprit in the widespread movement disorder Parkinson's disease. [More]
New rat study shows specific genetic factors may contribute to differences in addiction among humans

New rat study shows specific genetic factors may contribute to differences in addiction among humans

Why does one person who tries cocaine get addicted, while another might use it and then leave it alone? Why do some people who kick a drug habit manage to stay clean, while others relapse? And why do some families seem more prone to addiction than others? [More]
Scientists unravel mystery of disrupted communication between brain cells in Parkinson's patients

Scientists unravel mystery of disrupted communication between brain cells in Parkinson's patients

A possible cause has been found for the disrupted communication between brain cells exhibited by Parkinson's patients. Bettina Schwab, a researcher at the University of Twente in The Netherlands, discovered that this group of patients have increased concentrations of a certain type of protein. Ms Schwab defended her doctoral dissertation on Friday 22 April. [More]
Brain chemical dopamine plays key role in representing or encoding movement

Brain chemical dopamine plays key role in representing or encoding movement

Princeton University researchers have found that dopamine - a brain chemical involved in learning, motivation and many other functions - also has a direct role in representing or encoding movement. The finding could help researchers better understand dopamine's role in movement-related disorders such as Parkinson's disease. [More]
Dopamine D2 receptor gene can prolong lifespan

Dopamine D2 receptor gene can prolong lifespan

Researchers at the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions have discovered how a gene in the brain's dopamine system can play an important role in prolonging lifespan: it must be coupled with a healthy environment that includes exercise. [More]
Researchers use BMG LABTECH's microplate readers to measure binding events in kinetic over minutes

Researchers use BMG LABTECH's microplate readers to measure binding events in kinetic over minutes

Single reading events of a signaling molecule at a given time should no longer be considered as the only insightful indicator to predict the usefulness of a new drug candidate. [More]
Heavy marijuana use may lead to lower dopamine release in the brain

Heavy marijuana use may lead to lower dopamine release in the brain

In a recent study, researchers found evidence of a compromised dopamine system in heavy users of marijuana. Lower dopamine release was found in the striatum - a region of the brain that is involved in working memory, impulsive behavior, and attention. Previous studies have shown that addiction to other drugs of abuse, such as cocaine and heroin, have similar effects on dopamine release, but such evidence for cannabis was missing until now. [More]
Parkinson's disease medications could lead to impulse control disorders

Parkinson's disease medications could lead to impulse control disorders

Drugs commonly prescribed to treat Parkinson's disease have been linked to impulse control disorders such as pathological gambling, compulsive buying, hypersexuality and binge eating in some patients, report neurologists from Loyola Medicine and Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. [More]
Chronic lack of sleep, irregular sleep-wake cycles may increase risk of Parkinson's disease

Chronic lack of sleep, irregular sleep-wake cycles may increase risk of Parkinson's disease

Chronic lack of sleep and irregular sleep-wake cycles may be risk factors of Parkinson's disease, new work by researchers at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University suggests. In an animal model, the researchers show that disturbances in circadian rhythm that exist before Parkinson's onset dramatically worsen motor and learning deficits brought on by the disease. [More]
Electrical stimulation of deep brain structures to ease chronic pain

Electrical stimulation of deep brain structures to ease chronic pain

Abuse of prescription opioid medicines used to treat chronic pain has reached epidemic proportions, so much that the White House has announced new efforts to combat addiction and prevent the thousands of overdose-related deaths reported in the U.S. each year. [More]
Sweet foods invoke different brain circuits

Sweet foods invoke different brain circuits

Different brain circuits are invoked by the pleasure we derive from eating sweet foods and the calories they supply. [More]
Common parasitic infection linked to intermittent explosive disorder

Common parasitic infection linked to intermittent explosive disorder

In recent years, a common parasitic infection - as many as a third of the world's population may have it - has been linked to a range of psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, as well as behavioral dysregulation such as suicide attempts and car accidents. [More]
MU researchers use MRI to study effects of Phenylketonuria

MU researchers use MRI to study effects of Phenylketonuria

All children are screened for a host of conditions at birth, such as Phenylketonuria (PKU), a genetic disorder that is passed by mutated genes from both parents to their offspring. PKU is rare, only affecting one in every 10,000 children in the U.S.; therefore, it is seldom studied. [More]
Warning of increased mortality risk for PD patients taking antipsychotics

Warning of increased mortality risk for PD patients taking antipsychotics

Researchers have found a more than twofold increase in the risk of death among patients with Parkinson's disease who take antipsychotics, particularly typical antipsychotics. [More]
Antipsychotic drugs may do significantly more harm to Parkinson's disease patients

Antipsychotic drugs may do significantly more harm to Parkinson's disease patients

At least half of Parkinson's disease patients experience psychosis at some point during the course of their illness, and physicians commonly prescribe antipsychotic drugs, such as quetiapine, to treat the condition. However, a new study by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan Medical School, and the Philadelphia and Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Medical Centers and suggests that these drugs may do significantly more harm in a subset of patients. [More]
New scaffold technology could someday help treat Parkinson's disease, other brain-related conditions

New scaffold technology could someday help treat Parkinson's disease, other brain-related conditions

Scientists at Rutgers and Stanford universities have created a new technology that could someday help treat Parkinson's disease and other devastating brain-related conditions that affect millions of people. [More]
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