IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


1st January, 2024 Health


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Context: Researchers at the National Brain Research Centre (NBRC), Manesar, have made a significant breakthrough in understanding the development of Parkinson's Disease, a prevalent neurological disorder in ageing populations. The study sheds light on a complex interplay between two crucial brain chemicals, providing insights into the disease's etiology and offering potential avenues for novel therapies.


  • Scientists at NBRC discovered a significant interplay between two crucial brain chemicals—glutathione and iron—in the brains of Parkinson's Disease (PD) patients.
  • In the midbrain region called Substantia Nigra, which is associated with PD, researchers found a substantial depletion in the level of antioxidant glutathione and a simultaneous increase in iron levels. The imbalance in these natural substances appears to contribute to the development of PD.
  • Excessive iron levels, particularly in the Hippocampus (a vital brain component), were linked to symptoms like memory loss in some PD patients. This observation provides a possible explanation for certain cognitive symptoms associated with PD.
  • The findings open up a new therapeutic avenue for PD. The researchers suggest a potential therapy involving a combination of glutathione and a class of iron removal agents. However, this proposal is contingent on successful clinical trials.

Human Brain

●The human brain can be divided into three main parts: the cerebrum, the cerebellum, and the brainstem. Each part has a different role and is made up of several subparts.


The cerebrum is the largest and most visible part of the brain. It occupies the upper part of the skull and consists of two hemispheres (left and right) that are connected by a bundle of nerve fibres called the corpus callosum.

It is covered by a thin layer of grey matter called the cerebral cortex, which has many folds and grooves to increase its surface area.

●The cerebral cortex is responsible for higher cognitive functions such as reasoning, language, creativity, and problem-solving. It also processes sensory information from the eyes, ears, nose, skin, and other organs.


●The cerebellum is located at the lower back of the brain, below the cerebrum. It is smaller than the cerebrum but has more neurons (nerve cells).

It is responsible for coordinating movement, balance, posture, and fine motor skills. It also plays a role in learning and memory.


The brainstem is located at the base of the brain, where it connects to the spinal cord. It consists of three parts: the midbrain, the pons, and the medulla oblongata.

●The brainstem is responsible for controlling vital functions such as breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, swallowing, coughing, sneezing, and vomiting. It also regulates sleep cycles and consciousness.

Parkinson's Disease

  • Parkinson's Disease (PD) is a progressive neurological disorder impacting the nervous system, leading to movement and coordination challenges.
  • It affects millions globally, causing issues in daily life activities, mental health, sleep, and pain.
  • It is characterized by the degeneration of nerve cells in the basal ganglia, affecting the production of dopamine, a vital chemical for movement control.


  • The exact cause of PD remains unknown, but it is believed to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some cases have a hereditary component linked to specific genes.
  • Environmental factors such as toxin exposure, head trauma, infections, and a sedentary lifestyle may contribute to its development.
  • Abnormal protein clumps known as Lewy bodies, containing alpha-synuclein, also play a role in the progression of PD.

Diagnosis and Treatment

  • Diagnosis involves a neurologist's evaluation based on medical history, symptoms, and response to medication. No specific test confirms PD and imaging tests help rule out other conditions.
  • There's no cure, various treatments are suggested including surgery to manage symptoms. Levodopa, a dopamine-increasing drug, is often prescribed to observe symptom response.


  • While Parkinson's Disease poses significant challenges, a multidisciplinary approach involving medication, therapies, education, and emotional support can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals living with PD.

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DOPAMINE: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/dopamine


Q. Which medication is commonly used to treat Parkinson's Disease?

A) Insulin

B) Levodopa

C) Antibiotics

D) Antidepressants

Answer: B

Explanation: Levodopa, a medication that helps increase dopamine levels in the brain, is the most commonly used treatment for Parkinson's disease.