Prelims Level
Mains Level
Prelims Syllabus : Science and Technology – Pharmaceuticals and Medicals Mains Syllabus : GS-III Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology; Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology

Why in News?

  • IIT Dhanbad and CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (Kolkata) have developed the Z-scan method to monitor the origin as well as the progression of Parkinson’s disease in human beings.

Parkinson’s Disease:

  • Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that affects the central nervous system.
  • It damages nerve cells in the brain dropping the levels of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that sends behavioural signals from the brain to the body.
  • The disease causes a variety of “motor” symptoms (symptoms related to movement of the muscles), including rigidity, delayed movement, poor balance, and tremors.
  • Medication can help control the symptoms of the disease but it can’t be cured.
  • It affects the age group from 6 to 60 years. Worldwide, about 10 million people have been affected by this disease.

Aggregation of a protein – Alpha-synuclein:

  • An aggregation of a protein called Alpha-synuclein (ASyn) plays a crucial role in the development of Parkinson’s disease. Protein aggregation is a biological phenomenon in which destabilized proteins aggregate (i.e., accumulate and clump together) leading to many diseases.
  • Alpha-synuclein is a protein found in the human brain, while smaller amounts are found in the heart, muscle and other tissues.
  • In the brain, alpha-synuclein is found mainly at the tips of neurons in specialized structures called presynaptic terminals.
  • Presynaptic terminals release chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters.
  • The release of neurotransmitters relays signals between neurons and is critical for normal Brain Function.

Use of Z-scan Method:

  • The discovered Z-scan method is expected to help in monitoring both the early as well as late stages of the aggregation of ASyn and death of neuronal cells.
  • Until now, worldwide studies could not establish any strong relation between ASyn aggregations and subsequent death of neuronal cells observed in Parkinson’s Disease.
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