Missing link in Parkinson’s disease found

School of Medicine researchers have described a missing link in understanding how damage to the body’s cellular power plants leads to Parkinson’s disease and some forms of heart failure. A mouse heart, in gray, shows signs of heart failure because it is missing a newly discovered key molecule in the process that culls unhealthy mitochondria from cells. Superimposed on the heart is a fruit fly heart tube, shown in color. It shows signs of failure because it is missing another key molecule in mitochondrial quality control.

Welders may be at increased risk for brain damage

Workers exposed to welding fumes may be at increased risk of damage to the same brain area harmed by Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study by Brad Racette, MD, and researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Pollutants in some urban areas increase Parkinson’s disease risk

High levels of manganese and copper pollution in urban areas are linked to increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, according to a large-scale analysis of urban pollution and Parkinson’s incidence in the United States. Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that people living in areas with higher levels of manganese pollution had a 78 percent greater risk of Parkinson’s disease than those living in areas free of such pollution.