During this week’s lecture, we learned about neurotransmitter systems. When going through the norepinephrine pathways, there was a mention of the Locus Coeruleus having ascending pathways that widely innervate the brain. Looking more into it, this structure seems to have a huge importance in the proper functioning of the brain, as it is involved in so many functions. These include for example attention, anxiety, wake-sleep cycle, pain, mood, memory and learning. This was intriguing, as we have never heard about Locus Coeruleus before. You’d think that such an important structure would be more known. Could some known disorders be connected to dysfunction of the Locus Coeruleus, but this has not been found out due to lack of research on this structure specifically?
It’s interesting that you can add dopamine in form of Levodopa (l-dopa) to compensate for the lack of dopamine axons in Parkinson’s disease. We are wondering, to what degree can you do this? Are the side effects the only limiting factor, or would the effect just have some saturation point when the amount is great enough. We know from another course about deep brain simulation as another treatment method for Parkinson’s disease. Here’s a video about it: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/neurosurgery/services/treatments/deep-brain-stimulation.aspx. Could other diseases be treated in similar fashion?