Did you know iron is one of the most abundant metals on earth and essential to human health?

Most iron is stored in the red blood cell protein called “hemoglobin” that delivers oxygen to tissues, and some is found in “myoglobin”, a protein that supplies oxygen to the muscles.

Iron is an essential component of proteins involved in oxygen transport, and it is involved in regulating cell growth and differentiation. However, like everything, balanced iron levels are important… too little iron limits oxygen delivery to cells, decreasing immunity and resulting in fatigue, while too much can cause toxicity and death!

In Parkinson’s disease, symptoms are primarily caused by declining dopamine producing cells in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that allows messages to be transmitted from the substantia nigra, the part of the brain that helps control and coordinate movement to the muscles.  The symptoms of Parkinson’s appear when about 80 per cent of these dopamine-producing cells are lost.

New research shows excessive iron in the brain has been linked to the death of dopamine-producing brain cells in Parkinson’s disease. New MRI imaging technology developed by Dr. Rauscher and his lab at UBC has enabled researcher to correlate overall iron content in the substantia nigra and disease severity, as measured by a tool called the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS).

Using this MRI technique to detect elevated iron content in the substantia nigra, or other brain regions, would provide a new measurement that could lead to earlier diagnosis of Parkinson’s.

images demonstrate increased distribution of pixels with short effective T2 (here less than 46 msec) in brain of dementia patient as compared to normal volunteer. Brain iron distribution is an attractive potential biomarker for neurodegeneration as it is already present behind the blood-brain-barrier and it is well demonstrated by high field MRI.

It’s amazing to think of all the work happening behind the scenes to help improve early diagnosis in PD, since early diagnosis can help prescribe a better course of treatment. You can read the whole article here : Dr. Rauscher at UBC imaging advances in PD (Rauscher) – hospitalnews.com. Much love.


2 thoughts on “Fe

  1. This relates interestingly to the clinical trial in which I hope to be involved. The team are looking at whether reducing the iron in the brain affects the progress of the disease.
    I’m glad you liked my blog, by the way. Thanks

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