Scientists think the alpha-synuclein protein causes nerve cell death in patients with multiple system atrophy, a progressive neurological disorder sometimes mistaken for Parkinson's disease. In a mouse study, researchers documented progressive symptoms of MSA 90 days after introducing the protein and also found misshapen alpha-synuclein proteins in multiple areas of the brain. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests alpha-synuclein is a potential drug target to stop MSA and Parkinson's progression.

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