Parkinson’s disease may be the result of an energy crisis in brain cells that have unusually high energy needs in order to control movement. The crisis causes the cells to overheat and burn themselves out.

The researchers hope the findings will produce better ways to represent Parkinson’s disease in animal models and lead to new treatments. This could then lead to discovery of drugs to help brain cells reduce their energy consumption or use energy more efficiently, thus reducing the damage they accumulate over time. The team is already pursuing this end.

This article originally appeared on Psychiatry Advisor

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