Neuroscientists to introduce new approach to assess brain damage in Parkinson's patients

TSU neuroscientists and their colleagues from SibSMU plan to introduce a new approach to studying brain damage in patients with Parkinson's disease. They will analyze the condition of myelin - the main substance of the membranes of nerve fibers, on which the proper transmission of signals between neurons depends. A unique non-invasive method developed under the supervision of Vasily Yarnykh, scientific coordinator of the Laboratory of Neurobiology, Professor at TSU and the University of Washington, will help neuroscientists assess the degree of damage to the nerve membranes.

The essence of the method is the special mathematical processing of MRT (magnetic resonance tomography) data, which helps to build myelin maps and quantify them, - explains Marina Khodanovich, head of the Laboratory of Neurobiology of the TSU Research Institute of Biology and Biophysics. - This method opens up new possibilities in obtaining additional diagnostic information about patients with some serious diseases in which the main destructive process is demyelination (destruction of the myelin sheath of neurons).

In 2019, for the first time in world clinical practice, TSU neuroscientists used a new tool to assess the severity of pathological changes in the membranes of nerve fibers in people with Parkinson's disease.

In the next stage, neuroscientists will process MRT images and receive MPF (maturation promoting factor) maps of myelin in the brain, which helps to estimate the amount of myelin and the condition of the nerve membranes in patients with Parkinson's.

The researchers expect to receive additional information that is important for clarifying the diagnosis, choosing treatment tactics, and understanding the pathological processes that lead to a complete loss of human capacity.

It is important to understand how recovery occurs, in particular, to study the migration of young nerve cells replacing dead neurons."

Marina Khodanovich, TSU Research Institute of Biology and Biophysics

In most patients, recovery is extremely slow. It is necessary to distinguish between zones in which there is a positive dynamic, from those where it is absent. Perhaps the new data on neurogenesis will help create approaches that accelerate the rehabilitation of people who have suffered a vascular catastrophe.

The effectiveness of the new approach has been proved by the results of several projects implemented with the support of the Russian Science Foundation. In particular, scientists conducted a study of the reliability of the method on a model of stroke in rats. Neuroscientists analyzed the change in myelin dynamics (every other day, on the third and tenth days), and received data on how neuron death, growth of inflammation, and destruction of myelin occur. The results of postmortem histological studies confirmed the scientists’ conclusions.

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