Home > Disease > DNA and Neurological Disease

DNA and Neurological Disease

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 3 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Dna Neurological Research Disorders

Neurological diseases are devastating for sufferers and can be some of the most difficult diseases to treat. They may impact a person's daily life, including their mobility. They can also progressively worsen, which is painful for friends and family members when they watch a loved one deteriorate each day. Research into the mechanism of DNA as a basis for neurological diseases, however, has suggested promise for improving our understanding of the diseases and hopefully developing successful treatments one day.

What are Neurological Diseases?

Neurological diseases are disorders that involve the spinal cord, brain and also nerves in your body. These three parts exert a great deal of control over how your body works, which includes speech, movement, swallowing, breathing or thinking. A person's ability to recall information and their moods can also be affected. Examples of neurological diseases include:
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Bell's Palsy
  • Huntington's disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Cerebrovascular disease

DNA and its Relationship to Neurological Diseases

Research over the last several years has found that long sequences of abnormal DNA can cause extremely debilitating and rare neurological diseases. Researchers are trying to understand how these abnormalities actually occur in the DNA. In one study, the focus was on a neurological disorder called Friedreich's ataxia, which is damaging to the nervous system and gradually worsens over time. Those with the disease suffer from weakened muscles and difficulties speaking as well as heart disease.

If you recall that DNA reads bases in sets of three, you may more easily understand that in Friedreich's ataxia, a DNA triplet repeats itself - a guanine and two adenine bases, which are denoted by the first letter of each base, resulting in GAA. Since DNA base pairing is very specific, the complementary strand is two thymines and one cytosine, denoted by TTC. It was initially found that forty repeats of the triplet could occur without symptoms showing but we know that if more than forty repeats occur, many problems begin to take root. Also concerning is that the DNA itself is inherited, which is not particularly worrying if the pattern is less than forty repeats but it does become a problem when it occurs in greater numbers. The reason for this phenomenon is that the increasing number of repeats makes the sequence unstable. It also means that the sequence increases in each new generation. Unfortunately, the longer sequence causes more devastating effects from the disease.

Understanding DNA and Friedreich's Ataxia

To figure out exactly why the sequence lengthens so quickly, researchers observed the replication of the triplet in a simple model - yeast. Even though yeast is much simpler than humans, its DNA replicates in a similar way. In normal lengths, the replication was fine but in longer lengths, replication was basically stunned, causing the triplet repeat to multiply, thereby resulting in DNA that got progressively longer. Scientists want to understand how it is that the initial lengthening occurs, which then has a spiralling effect as each generation becomes worse. They also hope that the findings can help to fuel research into other neurological diseases that have a similar basis.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Rebekka
    Re: DNA and Air Crash Victims
    How does one obtain dna for ancestral testing from a body that's been embalmed? They are holding the body while I find out. Can you…
    26 April 2019
  • Nikita
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    Hello, I just saw your tests online. Great!! I am wondering my mother died about 20 years ago. I have 1/2 of her ashes. I am trying to find…
    29 March 2019
  • Morgz
    Re: An Overview of DNA Functions
    GO CHECK OUT MY NEW CLICKBAIT FORTNITE CHANNEL!!! MORGZCLICKBAITY
    26 March 2019
  • Shegzysnoop
    Re: Using DNA and for Immigration Purposes
    My dna is part of the document that was receive by the consulate from my lawyer in Chicago but surprisingly afelter…
    20 March 2019
  • yoda gaming
    Re: An Overview of DNA Functions
    game i must 3 weeks left to live i have took the kids she has
    19 March 2019
  • Lannette
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    My son was killed n 2018 and was buried can or shall I say could we get a good enough DNA to see if a child who's going on 10 next month…
    14 March 2019
  • Emilina C.
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    My uncle died in March 2017 and there is a probable theory that he was murdered by his wife due to the fact that his reason for being sent to…
    14 March 2019
  • lora
    Re: Using DNA and for Immigration Purposes
    my husband is petioning me, we went our different ways but we werent divorced , i had my son while i was married but…
    14 March 2019
  • Jem
    Re: DNA and Disease Prediction
    Nice work it really helped me with the big project I'm doing in May.
    11 March 2019
  • Brat
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    My daughters father just died yesterday he hasn't been buried or cremated is there any way that we could still do a DNA test to prove he is…
    9 March 2019