EurekAlert reports on research on the link between oxidative stress and Parkinson's disease: "the protein DJ-1 is oxidatively damaged in non-hereditary (sporadic) Parkinson's disease. While scientists do not know the function of DJ-1, they have previously identified abnormalities in DJ-1 that directly cause hereditary (familial) Parkinson's disease. ... Aware of the connection between DJ-1 mutations and familial Parkinson's disease, Dr. Li and her collaborators examined the oxidation levels of the protein in sporadic cases. Their hypothesis that DJ-1 was the missing link proved to be correct: DJ-1 in patients who had Parkinson's disease showed signs of oxidative damage. ... The protein unfolds and cannot function normally. Not recognizing the unfamiliar shape, the protein is broken down by the cell. The end result is the same: you lose your protein. Any mutation or modification causing this protein to lose its function will then lead to neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease."