Letters to the Editor: Mysteries of Parkinson's Disease

July 31, 2003

To the Editor:

I am writing in regards to the SIAM News article, "Mathematical Modelers Help Plumb Mysteries of Parkinson's Disease," SIAM News, May 2003. This is an important topic, and it is significant that SIAM News has brought this exciting area of research to the attention of a wider mathematical audience. There are, however, some points that I wish to clarify.

My own research in this area was done in collaboration with Jonathan E. Rubin, Alice C. Yew, and Charles J. Wilson.

This work appeared in the Journal of Neuroscience, Volume 22. In that paper, we develop a mathematical model for neurons within the basal ganglia and show that the model reproduces some earlier experimental results that are described in the paper. Clearly, it is much too early to speculate, as suggested by the SIAM News article, on what role this modeling effort may ultimately play in explaining mechanisms responsible for Parkinson's disease or surgical procedures to treat it.

These are obviously very complex and poorly understood issues.---David Terman, Ohio State University.

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