Nanotechnology may offer new treatment options for patients suffering from Parkinson's disease or post stroke. In the BMC Neuroscience article “Nanotechnology approaches to crossing the blood-brain barrier and drug delivery to the CNS,” author Gabriel A. Silva defines nanotechnology as “materials and devices that have a functional organization in at least one dimension on the nanometer (one billionth of a meter) scale, ranging from a few to about 100 nanometers.” These tiny devices can enter the brain, aiding with the transport of medication or increase of neurotransmitter levels.
In this study, nanotechnology was investigated as a method for delivering drugs through the blood-brain barrier, abbreviated as BBB. The BBB is semi-permeable and protects the brain. Larger molecules cannot pass through the BBB, which poses a limitation when creating medication. For example, dopamine, the neurotransmitter that Parkinson's disease patients are lacking, is too large to pass through the BBB. L-DOPA, the smaller precursor of dopamine, is administered instead. Nanotechnology can deliver certain molecules directly to the central nervous system (CNS), which increases medication options.
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