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Key to 130 brain conditions discovered

Monday 20th December 2010
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Scientists have made a breakthrough in the area of neurodegenerative diseases, which could change the way around 130 conditions are treated.

Hundreds of proteins essential to brain development making up the postsynaptic density (PSD) have been isolated by Anglo-American scientists, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Researchers discovered 1461 proteins are found in human synapses, which made it possible to identify the diseases that affect them.

Professor Seth Grant from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute has said that the findings demonstrate that the PSD is at the "centre stage" of numerous brain diseases.

"These diseases include common debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders, as well as epilepsies and childhood developmental diseases including forms of autism and learning disability," he said.

He added that this discovery could lead to multifunctional drugs being developed, which could target several conditions at once.

Meanwhile, the Alzheimer's trust has said that the government would save a lot of money if they tackled dementia effectively, with around one in four patients in hospital beds suffering from the condition.

Written by James Puckle

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