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Revolutionary technology to detect an illness impacting 10 million individuals globally.


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Scientists have developed a new technology that could help diagnose Parkinson’s disease before symptoms appear and speed up the search for a cure.

Diagnosing Parkinson’s disease is difficult because there is currently no specific test for the condition. Symptoms vary, and many other diseases have similar symptoms, meaning that the disease can often be misdiagnosed.

Now American scientists say they have found a way to detect the accumulation of abnormal proteins associated with the disease long before symptoms appear. Their results have been published in The Lancet Neurology.

The study appears to confirm that a method known as the alphaSyn-SAA (alphaSyn-SAA) seed amplification assay can accurately identify people at risk of developing the disease. The findings could pave the way for early detection, diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

Globally, the prevalence of this disease has doubled in the past 25 years, and it affects up to 10 million people.

Professor Andrew Sideroff of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and co-author of the study said: “Identifying an effective biomarker for the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease could have major implications for how we treat Parkinson’s disease, potentially making it possible to diagnose people with the disease. Determine in advance the best treatments for different patient groups and accelerate clinical trials.”

Parkinson’s disease is caused by the accumulation of abnormal proteins known as alpha-syn or alpha-synuclein in the brain and nervous system. This buildup is thought to occur years before the onset of physical symptoms such as tremors, slowness of movement, or muscle stiffness.

The study included 1,123 participants, making it one of the largest studies to date evaluating the benefits of alphaSyn-SAA technology.

The cohort included individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, individuals at risk for the genetic variants of GBA and LRRK2 associated with the disease, and individuals with a prodromal period, those who present with early non-motor symptoms such as sleep disturbance or loss of smell.

The technique involved taking samples of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord from each study participant and then testing the sample in a lab for the presence of alpha-synuclein.

The test amplifies a very small amount of these proteins, which is a pathological sign of Parkinson’s disease, so they can be detected using standard laboratory methods.

The study confirmed that this technology can not only accurately identify people with Parkinson’s disease, but also showed that it may be able to identify high-risk people and people with early non-motor symptoms before they are diagnosed.

Source: Guardian

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