Parkinson's Disease is a neurodegenerative condition caused by progressive loss of dopamine producing nerve cells in the brain. The loss of dopamine causes critical nerve cells to fire out of control, resulting in dramatic affects on motor function including tremor, rigidity, and difficulty initiating movement. Existing drugs help patients manage many of the symptoms for some time but they do not stop disease progression.

Gradual deficits in cognition occur with normal aging, but more drastic changes are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease which causes a catastrophic degradation of the quality of life for an individual and his or her family. There is no cure and current treatments only modestly delay the disease’s progression.

Schizophrenia has positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking and behavioral problems. Negative symptoms include withdrawal, apathy, and difficulty holding a job. Schizophrenics may also suffer from memory and cognitive disturbances. Current medications are ineffective against negative symptoms and cognitive deficits.


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