A spinal fluid test may predict who is likely to develop Parkinson’s disease years before symptoms appear. According to new research.
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative syndrome in which brain circuits involved in movement, thinking and behavior are gradually lost. According to a 2022 study, it is the most rapidly progressing neurodegenerative disease in the United States, with approximately 90,000 Americans diagnosed each year.
There is no blood test or laboratory test to diagnose Parkinson’s disease, said Michael Henderson, a neuroscientist at the Van Andel Institute, a biomedical nonprofit dedicated to researching Parkinson’s and other diseases. I’m here.
But experts say the spinal fluid test could be the first step toward a minimally invasive test that uses blood tests and nasal swabs to diagnose Parkinson’s disease.
Deborah W. Brooks, CEO of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which sponsored the study, said:
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How is Parkinson’s disease diagnosed?
Treatment can help relieve symptoms, but there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. This syndrome can cause tremors, stiffness, sluggishness, and falls, in addition to anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances. Most patients are diagnosed at an average age of 60, according to experts.
The disorder is usually diagnosed by a neurologist after an evaluation of symptoms, possibly combined with a brain scan and the patient’s response to medication.
But without criteria for movement disorders such as tremors, slowness of movement, stiffness and postural instability, there’s no way to know if someone has Parkinson’s disease, Henderson said.
“What the field has been looking for for a long time is a biomarker that essentially indicates that a patient had biologically developed Parkinson’s disease before they had symptoms,” he said. “What this research does is expand on what the field has been trying to do.”
The test, called the α-Synuclein Seed Amplification Assay, uses a patient’s spinal fluid to identify synuclein pathology, one of Parkinson’s disease’s two biological hallmarks, according to scientists at the Parkinson’s Disease Progression Markers Initiative. detect.
A study of more than 1,000 people enrolled between 2010 and 2019 included those with Parkinson’s disease, or those with genetic or clinical risk factors but no diagnosis, and Control volunteers were included.
While the test won’t replace professional diagnosis, it could “shape how and when Parkinson’s disease is diagnosed,” said Rachel Dolhan, M.D., senior vice president of medical communications at the Michael J. Fox Foundation. said.
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“New Biological Era”
The findings may also have implications for drug development and clinical care, said principal investigator Kenneth Marek, Ph.D., president and senior scientist at the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases.
“Validation of this biomarker opens up a new biological era for Parkinson’s disease research,” he said. “We will be able to test new therapies in the right populations, apply the right therapies to the right patients at the right time, and rapidly begin research on drugs that may prevent Parkinson’s disease entirely. will be able to.”
The test, called the SYNTap test by biotech company Amprion, is available for doctors to order for patients showing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease or related disorders. But Henderson said treatment options may need to catch up before doctors use it more in clinical practice.
“Without specific treatment for those patients, there’s not necessarily a real purpose of improving the diagnosis,” he said. there is no”.
Celebrities diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease include actors Michael J. Fox and Alan Alda, boxer and humanitarian Muhammad Ali, and singers Linda Ronstadt and Neil Diamond.
In a statement about the study, Fox said, “There are many ways I have been involved in the work of the Foundation, but first and foremost I arrived at this result as a Parkinson’s patient.” We are endlessly grateful to the researchers, research participants, and funders who have brought us this far.
“Together we are creating an inevitable cure for Parkinson’s disease.”
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Contributors: Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY. Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on her Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.
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