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research-and-clinical-trials

Drug design for Parkinson’s disease starts here

Photo: OakleyOriginals/CC 2.0/ flic.kr/p/5pjoeg

Were drug design a road, it would surely be a Minnesota street fraught with potholes, ice and gravel.

Even the best ideas can fall by the wayside somewhere between the lab and your corner pharmacy in the process of drug discovery and development.

Recently, University of Minnesota Center for Drug Design member, organic chemist and assistant professor Liqiang Chen, Ph.D., published a paper in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry outlining the discovery of a potent and selective protein-inhibitor. Blocking the protein, Sirtuin 2 (SIRT2), also has the potential to block a primary contributor to Parkinson’s disease from causing harm.

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research-and-clinical-trials

University of Minnesota study: More effective alcohol policies ignored while less effective passed into law

Photo: Mike Knlec/CC 2.0/flic.kr/p/pcLepZ

What works to prevent alcohol-related deaths and binge drinking isn’t always what makes it into law. A new study finds that policymakers are significantly more likely to adopt ineffective alcohol policies than they are to adopt effective ones. Researchers at the University of Minnesota and Boston University tracked 29 different state alcohol control policies from 1999 through 2011 and found that that none of the policies rated to be the most effective for reducing excessive drinking were either adopted or strengthened during the study period. During that same period they noted an increase in adoption of policies that were comparatively less effective, or that targeted only youth drinking or impaired driving.

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research-and-clinical-trials

U of M, St. Jude Medical partner to tackle Parkinson’s disease, depression

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Inquiry.

University of Minnesota researchers and St. Jude Medical are collaborating to treat some of the most challenging and debilitating movement and neuropsychiatric disorders using deep brain stimulation (DBS), a treatment which uses electrical current to directly stimulate parts of the brain. The project is part of MnDRIVE (Minnesota’s Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy), a $36 million biennial investment by the state that aims to solve grand challenges in areas that align with Minnesota’s industries, including discoveries and treatments for brain conditions.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Can this drug for Tylenol overdose make inroads with Type 1 diabetes?

Photo: Victor/CC 2.0/ flic.kr/p/hyE2be

A low-cost Tylenol overdose drug already available for cystic fibrosis use will soon enter clinical trials aimed at discovering whether it can aid in treating an additional condition: Type 1 diabetes.

The drug, a natural supplement, is thought to have potential use in the treatment of hypoglycemia, a condition in which too little blood sugar is present in the body.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Enterovirus D68 confirmed in MN by MDH, UMN

Photo courtesy Flickr user KristyFaith

Enterovirus D68 is hospitalizing children around the Midwest due to its severe asthma attack-like symptoms. Today, it is confirmed that the virus has reached Minnesota.

According to a statement from the Minnesota Department of Health, its lab tests confirmed one case of having Enterovirus 68 (EV-D68). Labs at the University of Minnesota have also confirmed EV D68 in 11 samples from the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Research Snapshot: Unmatched insights into deep brain stimulation through MRI

U of M researchers are developing three-dimensional patient-specific anatomical models of the brain that allows physicians to identify and pinpoint an exact target location for deep brain stimulation.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a procedure that is used to treat movement disorders including Parkinson’s disease, tremor and dystonia. To improve symptoms, a DBS lead (insulated wire) is surgically inserted deep within the brain in sites known to control movement.

Electrical impulses are sent from the neurostimulator, also known as a brain pacemaker, to the lead implanted in the brain. The stimulation changes the pattern of electrical activity in the brain into a more normal pattern, thereby improving symptoms and returning more normal movement to patients.

Choosing the target location for the lead is of critical importance. Standard protocol among physicians around the world is to use a brain atlas developed from two French women who donated their brains to science many years ago. From there physicians superimpose the patient’s own brain MRI images and calculate a plan to implant the electrodes in the brain.

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