12th edition of my human genetics textbook


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Glenn Nichols, surrounded by his hospice team. The author is in yellow.

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Genetic Linkage

Hiding in Plain Sight: Exploring Parkinsonís Link to the Appendix

December 2, 2018

Tags: Parkinson's disease, appendix, alpha-synuclein

Lurking in the layers of the human appendix lie deposits of alpha-synuclein, a protein prone to gumminess, like sticky rice. Known mostly for its clumping in the brains of people with Parkinsonís disease, alpha-synuclein aggregates found in the appendixes of healthy people made headlines a few weeks ago.

Isnít the appendix fairly useless, even dangerous when inflamed? Is it also a gateway to a brain disease?

Actually, a link between the Parkinsonís protein and the appendix has been known for a few years. Now, new experiments reported in Science Translational Medicine confirm the connection and suggest a protective role for appendectomy. But rather than advising people to shed their appendixes, the researchers see their findings as opening up a new target for drug discovery for Parkinsonís.

To continue reading go to Genetic Literacy Project, where this article first appeared.

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