New test can detect Parkinson’s disease earlier

Parkinson’s disease is often not discovered until brain damage has occurred. De Volkskrant reports that American researchers have now developed a new technique with which the disease can be detected earlier.

The cerebrospinal fluid of Parkinson’s patients contains clumping protein, which in most cases is believed to cause progressive disease. The test can detect the presence of this protein.

Parkinson’s precursor symptoms

Neurologists tested patients who had already been diagnosed. They also tested the test in people who suffered from a decreased sense of smell or REM sleep disorder, two symptoms that may indicate the precancerous stage of Parkinson’s disease. In most cases, the protein was also found in them, although no brain damage had yet occurred.

Bas Bloem tells de Volkskrant that this is good news, but he does not think that the test will be used immediately to monitor patients. The professor of neurology at the Radboud University Medical Center, who specializes in Parkinson’s, was not involved in this new research, which he believes is well put together.

Bloem: “The problem is that we cannot offer these people with early stage Parkinson’s disease anything yet. The most you can do is participate in a drug trial that can slow down the disease.”

Bloem expects that the American test in particular will become important in the research in the short term. “This allows you to monitor people in the early stages of the disease and test whether you can slow down their progression. I think we will also use this technique in our work.”

Slow Parkinson’s

Scientists have been searching for years for a reliable test that could diagnose Parkinson’s disease more quickly so patients can get medication for their symptoms more quickly. But also to slow down the disease as quickly as possible.

The researchers have published their technique in the journal Nature. Lancet neurology.

Source: Health Net