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New Parkinson's surgery.

New Parkinson's surgery

For the first time in the United States,adrenal gland cells have been transplanted into the brain of a Parkinson's disease patient. Surgeons performed the procedure last week in Nashville, Tenn., in hopes of alleviating symptoms of the neurological disease.

Parkinson's disease apparently iscaused by the loss of brain cells that produce a chemical called dopamine, important in transmitting signals from one nerve cell to another. Dopamine deficiency leads to loss of motor control. Because adrenal glands, which lie near the kidneys, produce dopamine-like hormones, researchers think that transfer of adrenal gland cells to the brain might slow or stop the disease.

It will be several weeks before physiciansknow whether last week's surgery will produce beneficial results, according to George S. Allen, who led the surgical team at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He told SCIENCE NEWS that at least 12 patients will have to receive transplants before researchers decide whether the treatment is effective. Success of the operation may be influenced by patient age and disease severity, says Allen.

Two patients who received transplantsin Mexico City in August and October of last year continue to show "marked improvement,' according to a report from their physicians in the April 2 NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE.
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Title Annotation:adrenal gland cells transplanted into brain of Parkinson's disease patient
Publication:Science News
Date:Apr 18, 1987
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