In addition to the destruction of neurons, the other major pathological feature of Parkinson's is the formation of Lewy bodies inside neurons. These protein deposits appear first in the lower brain stem. As the disease worsens, Lewy bodies begin appearing higher in the brain stem, then in the substantia nigra, and eventually in the cerebral cortex. "Years ago, we used to think that Lewy bodies were the cause of the disease," Fahn said. "Now we think it may be the other way around." "The Lewy body may not be about cell death or destruction at all, but it may be about protecting the brain," added David J. Brooks, a neurologist at Imperial College, London.
by Sophie L. Rovner |
April 10, 2006