Stem cells therapies, genetic bases of selective degeneration, impulse-control disorders. These are some of the issues linked to the management of Parkinson’s disease and of other neurological diseases such as dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, that nowadays affect almost a million Italians.
Personalized medicine is the future of therapies also for Parkinson’s disease, dementias and neurodegenerative diseases. New progresses in this kind of treatment, and the possibility to really reach this goal in the near future, are possible thanks to the distinction of the main degenerative neurological diseases: “Among the most relevant news in this field there is the subtyping of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, dementias and Parkinson’s, with evident repercussions on diagnoses and therapies”, Prof. Alberto Albanese, Supervisor of Neurology at Humanitas and promoter of “Milano Parkinson”, explains.
Surveys and evidence about genetic aspects have allowed further knowledge about these diseases: “The heterogeneity of neurodegenerative diseases is now well-known. We can’t speak anymore of Alzheimer’s diseases or Parkinson’s or dementia in the singular, because there are more types of each of these diseases. We should take into consideration two apparently opposed trends: on one hand we group diseases because we recognize their similar causes, on the other hand we are creating a precision neurology, able to ascertain the peculiarities and the specific needs of each patient”, Prof. Albanese explains.
Degenerative Neurological Diseases: Humanitas Research Project that you can Fund Through your 5×1000
Humanitas is a leading center in the fight against degenerative neurological diseases, by researching their biological causes and studying the affected patients. Specialists at Humanitas test new medications, surgery techniques and rehabilitating treatments that aim to slow down or contrast the degeneration of the nervous system. The role of research is paramount to make life better for patients who suffer from degenerative neurological diseases.
Degenerative neurological diseases: characteristics and numbers
They are characterized by the early loss of nerve cells (neurons) in specific parts of the nervous system, often in adulthood and in the heat of productivity. This loss is initially selective, that is to say it affects a limited portion and can stay localized or spread until generalization. The different degenerative neurological diseases have different symptoms, depending on the affected nervous areas and on the variable progress. For example, Parkinson’s disease, that targets almost 300,000 people in Italy, in the beginning only affects the motor control areas, but then it may also spread to the nerves that control internal organs, cognitive functions, and so on. Alzheimer’s disease initially affects the memory areas, but then it spreads to the whole cerebral cortex. The motor neuron disease (or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) targets almost 5,000 patients in Italy, generally 60-year-olds, and leads to a gradual paralysis of all muscles that is deadly after 3-5 years from the appearance of the first symptoms.