|Study suggests L-DOPA therapy for Angelman syndrome may have both benefits and unanticipated effects|
|Monday, November 12, 2012|
Last year a clinical trial of L-DOPA -- a mainstay of Parkinson’s disease therapy -- was launched for Angelman syndrome, a rare intellectual disorder that shares similar motor symptoms such as tremors and difficulty with balance. The clinical trial is based on a 10-year-old case report showing benefit with the drug, but few studies since have explored the neurological justification for using L-DOPA to treat parkinsonian features in Angelman syndrome.
New research from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, conducted in animal models of the disorder, now provides justification for this therapeutic approach. The study, published online ahead of print on Nov. 12 by the Journal of Clinical Investigation, suggests that L-DOPA could compensate for a loss of the neurochemical dopamine in the brain’s motor pathways and improve motor symptoms. However, it also indicates that the drug could add to an already increased amount of dopamine in the brain’s reward pathways and thus have unanticipated consequences on emotion and attention.
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