Marmosets and research into Parkinson's Disease
Geoff Butcher has Parkinson's disease. Here we hear him interview a scientist who uses Marmosets as an animal model to investigate Parkinson's disease. The scientist does this by using a chemical called MPTP to destroy the substantia nigra in the Marmosets. This is the part of the brain that is associated with the fine control of movement. It is damage to the substantia nigra that caused the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
The discovery of MPTP was an accident. Drug-users took contaminated material and developed Parkinsonian-like symptoms. This led to the unravelling of a medical mystery described in The Case of The Frozen Addicts reviewed here: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199612263352618