Startseite » Experimental neurology » Reasearch focus » Neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases

Neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases

Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease

Neurological diseases are a common cause of disability and life-threatening critical health conditions. In the last 25 years, they have been the leading cause of disability-related loss of life years worldwide according to the DALY (“disability-adjusted life years”) concept. The fastest growing neurological disease is Parkinson’s disease. In Germany, the total number of Parkinson’s patients is currently estimated at about 400,000 with very high prevalences in the age group between 70 and 80 years. As part of a neurodegenerative process involving the loss of dopamine-producing and other nerve cells, motor functions in particular decline over time.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system that affects more than 250,000 people in Germany. Neuroinflammatory demyelinating processes trigger various neurological symptoms such as visual and sensory disturbances or motor impairments, which usually occur in relapses and typically start in young adulthood. In young people, MS is the main cause of permanent disability. Neurodegenerative processes are also observed in the course of the disease, leading to a progressive loss of nerve cell function and increasing disability, although relapses become less frequent. The transition into this progressive phase of the disease often leads to significant disability with wheelchair use.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease overall and is mainly characterised by the dementia associated with it. Approximately 2 million Alzheimer’s patients live in Germany, and at least 50 million people worldwide are assumed to be affected (as of 2018, Deutsche Alzheimer Gesellschaft e.V.). People over the age of 65 are particularly at risk with increasing age. Due to the deterioration of cognitive abilities in the context of dementia, patients are often dependent on great help from relatives, so that cases of illness have far-reaching social effects in the patient’s environment and beyond.

For all the diseases described, Parkinson’s, MS and Alzheimer’s, it is essential to recognise the disease at an early stage in order to initiate and optimally apply appropriate drug and non-drug treatment procedures (physiotherapy, occupational therapy).

Correlation between Aβ42 decrease and misfolding in blood

PURE – Protein Research Unit Ruhr within Europe
Validierung Marker-freier Imaging Verfahren und neu identifizierter Biomarker unter Nutzung des PURE-Konsortium