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Test to Detect Early Parkinson’s Nears Completion

Test to Detect Early Parkinson’s Nears Completion

European scientists have developed a new test that detects early stage Parkinson’s disease by analyzing molecules found in a person’s spinal fluid.

Experts say that the test needs to be validated with a larger sample group but they are optimistic that it could one day help to improve diagnosis of the disease.

The study appears in the journal Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.

The new test detects a protein molecule called alpha-synuclein, which forms sticky clumps called Lewy bodies inside the brain cells of people with Parkinson’s and some types of dementia.

Previous efforts to develop a test for alpha-synuclein have produced inconsistent results because the protein is also found in healthy brains. It is only when the protein clumps together that it causes problems.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh made use of a highly sensitive technology that measures the stickiness of proteins.

The approach, called real-time quaking-induced conversion, can detect tiny differences in the properties of proteins in the brain that can mean the difference between disease or not.

In early tests, the technique accurately identified 19 out of 20 samples from patients with Parkinson’s disease, as well as three samples from people considered to be at risk of the condition.

Significantly, there were no false positives in any of the 15 control samples from healthy people.

The technique also identified patients with a type of dementia caused by Lewy bodies, but not other types of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive brain condition caused by the loss of nerve cells. Currently, it is not known what causes the condition and there is currently no accurate test for it.

Patients often have to wait years for a diagnosis, which is based on physical symptoms, their medical history and the results of simple mental and physical exercises.

Dr. Alison Green, of the National CJD Research and Surveillance Unit at the University of Edinburgh, said, “We have already used this technique to develop an accurate test for Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, another neurodegenerative condition. We hope that with further refinement, our approach will help to improve diagnosis for Parkinson’s patients.

“We are also interested in whether it could be used to identify people with Parkinson’s and Lewy body dementia in the early stages of their illness. These people could then be given the opportunity to take part in trials of new medicines that may slow, or stop, the progression of disease.”

Source: University of Edinburgh

Test to Detect Early Parkinson’s Nears Completion

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2016). Test to Detect Early Parkinson’s Nears Completion. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 20, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2016/08/30/test-to-detect-early-parkinsons-nears-completion/109255.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 30 Aug 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Aug 2016
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.