Tag: neurodegenerative diseases

New Imaging Technique Picks up Earliest Stages of Neurological Disorders

A new imaging technique has the potential to detect neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease at their earliest stages. 

The imaging methodology, called super-resolution, combines position emission tomography (PET) with an external motion tracking device to create highly detailed images of the brain. PET scanning, which is mostly used for oncology, where the activity of radioactive tracers introduced into the body is measured. Higher activity corresponds to greater uptake of that particular tracer.

In normal brain PET imaging, image quality is often limited by unwanted movements of the patient during scanning. In this study, researchers utilised super-resolution to make use of the normally unwanted head motion of subjects to enhance the resolution in brain PET.

Moving phantom and non-human primate experiments were performed on a PET scanner in conjunction with an external motion tracking device that continuously measured head movement with extremely high precision. Static reference PET acquisitions with no induced movement were also performed. After combining data from the imaging devices, researchers obtained PET images with higher resolution than the standard static reference scans.

Yanis Chemli, MSc, PhD candidate, Gordon Center for Medical Imaging, said: “This work shows that one can obtain PET images with a resolution that outperforms the scanner’s resolution by making use, counterintuitively perhaps, of usually undesired patient motion. Our technique not only compensates for the negative effects of head motion on PET image quality, but it also leverages the increased sampling information associated with imaging of moving targets to enhance the effective PET resolution.”

Though this super-resolution technique has only been tested in preclinical studies, researchers are preparing to try it with human subjects. Looking to the future, Chemli noted the important impact that super-resolution may have on brain disorders, specifically Alzheimer’s disease. “Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by the presence of tangles composed of tau protein. These tangles start accumulating very early on in Alzheimer’s disease–sometimes decades before symptoms–in very small regions of the brain. The better we can image these small structures in the brain, the earlier we may be able to diagnose and, perhaps in the future, treat Alzheimer’s disease,” he noted.

Source: Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

Lifestyle Changes Shown to Reduce Risk of Dementia

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

After almost two decades, a new drug for Alzheimer’s disease has been approved in the US. However, some experts say it doesn’t really work — only treating amyloid plaques which are thought to cause the disease — and worry that it may cost a lot.

The amount of attention around this news reflects the importance of preventing dementia, with its devastating toll on families and patients. But millions of adults could lower their chances of needing such a drug by taking preventative measures.

That’s why a national panel of experts including the University of Michigan’s Deborah Levine, MD, MPH, recently published a guide for primary care providers on this topic as an official Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association.

People dread Alzheimer’s disease, she said. Helping people understand that they can prevent or slow future dementia by taking specific steps now could motivate them to increase their healthy behaviours for a positive effect.

The first step is to recognise that dementia risk is higher among people with seven major modifiable risk factors.

These are: depression, hypertension, physical inactivity, diabetes, obesity, hyperlipidaemia, poor diet, smoking, social isolation, excessive alcohol use, sleep disorders and hearing loss. Addressing each of these factors can, to varying extents, help reduce the risk of developing dementia, a fact backed by decades of research.

The second step is using medication, lifestyle change and other interventions to help patients reduce their dementia risk.

“Dementia is not inevitable,” said Dr Levine, a primary care provider at the University of Michigan Health, part of Michigan Medicine. “Evidence is growing that people can better maintain brain health and prevent dementia by following healthy behaviours and controlling vascular risk factors.”

These strategies can help preserve cognitive function and lower risk for heart attacks and strokes, said Dr Levine, who heads the Cognitive Health Services Research Program and sees patients at the Frankel Cardiovascular Center.

“We need to address the significant disparities that lead women, Black, Hispanic and less-educated Americans to have a much higher risk of dementia,” said Levine, a member of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

She added that it’s never too late in life to start working on cognitive risk factor control.

“We have no treatments that will halt dementia – so it’s important to protect your brain health.”

Source: University of Michigan

Molecule Found to Play a Key Role in Brain Rejuvenation

Image source: Pixabay

A new study shows that a molecule could play a key role in support cells in the brain, allowing them to repair and properly communicate.

Studies have shown that new brain cells continually formed in response to injury, physical exercise, and mental stimulation. Glial cells, and in particular oligodendrocyte progenitors, are highly responsive to external signals and injuries. They can detect changes in the nervous system and form new myelin, which forms a sheath around nerves, providing metabolic support and accurate transmission of electrical signals. However, less myelin is formed with age, and this progressive decline has been linked to the age-related cognitive and motor deficits observed in older people. Impaired myelin formation also has been reported in older individuals with neurodegenerative diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis or Alzheimer’s and identified as one of the causes of their progressive clinical deterioration.

A new study from the Neuroscience Initiative team at the Advanced Science Research Center at The Graduate Center, CUNY (CUNY ASRC) has identified a molecule called ten-eleven-translocation 1 (TET1) as a necessary component of myelin repair. shows that TET1 modifies the DNA in specific glial cells in adult brains so they can form new myelin in response to injury. The study was published in Nature Communications.

“We designed experiments to identify molecules that could affect brain rejuvenation,” said lead author Sarah Moyon, PhD, a research assistant professor with the CUNY ASRC Neuroscience Initiative. “We found that TET1 levels progressively decline in older mice, and with that, DNA can no longer be properly modified to guarantee the formation of functional myelin.”

The authors are currently exploring whether raising levels of TET1 in older mice could rejuvenate the oligodendroglial cells, restoring their regenerative functions.

Combining whole-genome sequencing bioinformatics, the authors showed that the DNA modifications induced by TET1 in young adult mice were essential to promote healthy communication among central nervous system cells and for ensuring proper function. The authors also showed that young adult mice with a genetic modification of TET1 in the myelin-forming glial cells could not produce functional myelin, and so behaved like older mice.

“This newly identified age-related decline in TET1 may account for the inability of older individuals to form new myelin,” said Patrizia Casaccia, founding director of the CUNY ASRC Neuroscience Initiative, a professor of Biology and Biochemistry at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and the study’s primary investigator. “I believe that studying the effect of aging in glial cells in normal conditions and in individuals with neurodegenerative diseases will ultimately help us design better therapeutic strategies to slow the progression of devastating diseases like multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s.”

The findings could also hold important implications for molecular rejuvenation of ageing brains in healthy individuals, the researchers noted. Future studies aimed at increasing TET1 levels in older mice are underway to define whether the molecule could restore new myelin formation and favour proper neuro-glial communication. The long-term goal of the team is to promote recovery of cognitive and motor functions in older people and in patients with neurodegenerative diseases.

Source: Advanced Science Research Center

A Neurologist Confronts His Alzheimer’s Disease

Image by valelopardo from Pixabay

Neurologist Daniel Gibbs, MD, PhD, related his experiences of having been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and taking part in clinical trials of possible treatments for it.

“I’m fascinated by this disease that, for my entire career as a scientist and a neurologist, I could only observe from the outside,” Dr Gibbs wrote in his new book, A Tattoo on my Brain: A Neurologist’s Personal Battle against Alzheimer’s Disease. “Now I’ve got a front-row seat — or rather, I’m in the ring with the tiger.”

Dr Gibbs stumbled upon his diagnosis accidentally, when he and his wife tested their DNA to learn about their ancestry that he discovered he had two copies of the APOE4 allele, the most common genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.

Because he had an early diagnosis, Dr Gibbs has volunteered to participate in several Alzheimer’s clinical trials in recent years, including one for aducanumab, the controversial Alzheimer’s treatment the FDA is expected to decide upon in June.

During a trial of aducanumab, he developed a serious amyloid-related imaging abnormality (ARIA) involving both brain oedema and intracerebral haemorrhage, which he recovered from. Dr Gibbs went on to co-author a case report about the clinical course and treatment of his complication. In the wake of much controversy, aducanumab has today received FDA approval.

MedPage Today interviewed Dr Gibbs on his experiences and perspectives since his Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Dr Gibbs said that “as a patient and as a neurologist” it is a coping mechanism which gives hime “a huge advantage” to be able to look at the disease through his two “masks”. “Looking at it from the neurologist scientist’s point of view is a lot less threatening and is intellectually very satisfying. I enjoy reading and writing about it,” he said.

Regarding his future, he said: “One of the messages I try to get across in the book is that you need to plan for the future while you are still cognitively intact, and make very clearly known what you want done when you’re unable to give instructions about your care. I’ve done that. My family knows, my doctor knows: I don’t want anything done if I can’t participate in making decisions.” 

Dr Gibbs said he was excited to volunteer for the aducanumab study partly because of the way aducanumab was discovered; a reverse-engineered antibody found in cognitively normal aged people. Another reason was the more aggressive nature of the trial. He explained the meaning of “tattoo on my brain” alluded to in the title of his book, an adverse effect of the experimental drug.

“For me, a ‘tattoo on my brain’ has two forms. In the ARIA — the amyloid-related imaging abnormality complication I had from aducanumab — there was both leakage of fluid causing swelling in my brain and leakage of blood, microhaemorrhages. Those went away, as did the swelling in my brain, but they left behind this haemosiderin, this iron-containing pigment which is not dissimilar to tattoo ink, if you will.

“I haven’t had a recent MRI scan, but at least the last one I looked at a year or two ago still showed those little dots of hemosiderin. In a literal sense, that is the tattoo on my brain. In the figurative sense, the tattoo is a symbol of a kind of coming out of the closet and showing something that you’re not ashamed of.” 

The book, he said, is about people with early disease and the children of people with Alzheimer’s disease because they’re at risk. The aim is to “loosen up the conversation” so that interventions such as lifestyle changes can take place.

He suspects that the first disease-modifying drugs will be effective in early stages, which are going to be really hard studies to do. Recruiting participants without cognitive impairment but the pathology of  of Alzheimer’s disease is extremely difficult.
Finally, he offered some advice on dealing with Alzheimer’s.

“What I would recommend is for everybody to start doing things that are good for them. A heart-healthy diet is good for you in so many ways. It’s hard to say that’s not a good idea, although we’re a country of hamburger-loving people. And exercise — I don’t know how you overcome that bar of convincing people if you want to be a healthy 70- or 80-year-old, you have to exercise and get a good diet. And good sleep.”

Source:MedPage Today

Precise Ultrasound Heating of Neurons Could Treat Neurological Disorders

Image source: Fakurian Design on Unsplash

A multidisciplinary team at Washington University in St. Louis has developed a new brain stimulation technique using focused ultrasound that is able to turn specific types of neurons in the brain on and off and precisely control motor activity without surgical device implantation.

Being able to turn neurons on and off can treat certain neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. Used for over six decades, deep brain stimulation techniques have had some treatment success in neurological disorders, but those require surgical device implantation. 

The team, led by Hong Chen, assistant professor of biomedical engineering in the McKelvey School of Engineering and of radiation oncology at the School of Medicine, is the first to provide direct evidence showing noninvasive activation of specific neuron types in mammalian brains by combining an ultrasound-induced heating effect and genetics, which they have named sonothermogenetics. It is also the first work to show that the ultrasound- genetics combination can robustly control behaviour by stimulating a specific target deep in the brain.

The results of the three years of research were published online in Brain Stimulation

“Our work provided evidence that sonothermogenetics evokes behavioural responses in freely moving mice while targeting a deep brain site,” Chen said. “Sonothermogenetics has the potential to transform our approaches for neuroscience research and uncover new methods to understand and treat human brain disorders.”

Chen and colleagues delivered a viral construct containing TRPV1 ion channels to genetically-selected neurons in a mouse model. Then, they delivered small pulses of heat generated by low-intensity focused ultrasound to the selected neurons in the brain via a wearable device. The heat, only a few degrees warmer than body temperature, activated the TRPV1 ion channel, which then acted as a switch to turn the neurons on or off.

“We can move the ultrasound device worn on the head of free-moving mice around to target different locations in the whole brain,” said Yaoheng Yang, first author of the paper and a graduate student in biomedical engineering. “Because it is noninvasive, this technique has the potential to be scaled up to large animals and potentially humans in the future.”

Building on prior research from his lab, professor of biomedical engineering Jianmin Cui and his team found for the first time that ion channel activity can be influenced by ultrasound alone, possibly leading to new and noninvasive ways to control the activity of specific cells. They discovered that focused ultrasound modulated the currents flowing through the ion channels on average by up to 23%, depending on channel and stimulus intensity. Following this work, researchers found close to 10 ion channels with this capability, but all of them are mechanosensitive, not thermosensitive.

The work also builds on the concept of optogenetics, the combination of the targeted expression of light-sensitive ion channels and the precise delivery of light to stimulate neurons deep in the brain. While optogenetics has increased discovery of new neural circuits, it has limited penetration depth due to light scattering, requiring surgical implantation of optical fibres to reach deeper into the brain.

Sonothermogenetics has the promise to target any location in the mouse brain with millimetre-scale resolution without causing any damage to the brain, Chen said. She and her team are further refining the technique and validating their work.

Source: Sci Tech Daily

Journal information: Yaoheng Yang et al, Sonothermogenetics for noninvasive and cell-type specific deep brain neuromodulation, Brain Stimulation (2021). DOI: 10.1016/j.brs.2021.04.021

A Mediterranean Diet Keeps Dementia at Bay

A dish full of vegetables which could be in a Mediterranean diet.

Researchers have reported that a Mediterranean diet may reduce the risk of developing dementia and cognitive loss, helping preserve memory functions as people age.

Specifically, the diet appears to lower the level of amyloid and tau proteins that are linked with dementia. People following the Mediterranean diet, already noted for its numerous health benefits, scored better on memory tests than those who were not following the diet.

The first of these proteins, amyloid protein, forms plaques in the brain, whereas the second, tau protein, forms tangles. Both are present in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, though they are not uncommon in the brains of healthy older people, too.

“These results add to the body of evidence that shows what you eat may influence your memory skills later on,” said study author Tommaso Ballarini, PhD, of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn, Germany. He adds:

Studies have linked good health with the foods that people living in Greece, Spain, and Italy ate before the 1960s. This diet consists primarily of vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grain foods, seafood, extra virgin olive oil, and wine in moderation. Poultry, eggs and dairy products are present to a limited extent, while red meat, added sugar, refined grains and oils, and processed foods are typically lacking in a Mediterranean diet.

Kristin Kirkpatrick, a dietitian at Cleveland Clinic told Medical News Today that the contents of a Mediterranean diet offers beneficial “omega-3 fatty acids, polyphenols, specific minerals, fiber, and protein” that “may support the brain’s health and protection throughout the years.”

However, Kirkpatrick cautioned that, “A diet, even one with strong clinical data on its benefit, is only as healthy as the individuals who choose its structure.”

Sensible portion sizes are important, she noted and warned against the “consumption of processed foods that are marketed as heart-healthy or contain the components seen in a traditional Mediterranean approach.”

The investigators recruited 512 individuals from the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases’ Longitudinal Cognitive Impairment and Dementia StudyTrusted Source. Participant  assessments showed that 343 were at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease while the other 169 people were “cognitively normal.”

Participants filled in questionnaires regarding the food they ate the previous month and the investigators asked them to record their intake of 148 specific food items. Participants were scored on their diet’s similarity to a Mediterranean diet, the most similar receiving a 9 and the least similar a 1. Since this was a self-reported study on eating habits, errors or misrepresentations are possible.

Individuals also took cognitive tests designed to detect the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The tests assessed five areas: memory, working memory, language, executive functions, and visuospatial abilities. MRI brain scans determined each individual’s brain volume.

Finally, the researchers analyzed spinal fluid from a subsample of 226 participants who gave their consent, assessing the presence and amounts of the two biomarker proteins: amyloid and tau.

After adjusting for sex, age, and education, the scientists identified several clear links between better cognitive health and a Mediterranean diet.

The investigators  reported that:

  • Every dietary score point lower than 9 was linked to almost 1 year of the brain ageing that occurs in Alzheimer’s disease progression.
  • Participants who most closely followed the Mediterranean diet had fewer amyloid and tau protein biomarkers in their spinal fluid than those who had lower dietary scores.
  • People on the Mediterranean diet scored better on memory tests than people who were not.

Dr Ballarani concluded that, “More research is needed to show the mechanism by which a Mediterranean diet protects the brain from protein buildup and loss of brain function, but findings suggest that people may reduce their risk for developing Alzheimer’s by incorporating more elements of the Mediterranean diet into their daily diets.”

Source: Medical News Today

Exercise Slows Cognitive Decline in APOE4-related Parkinson’s Disease

Results from a longitudinal study showed physical activity reduced  cognitive decline in early APOE4-related Parkinson’s disease.

Jin-Sun Jun, MD, of Hallym University in Seoul, and colleagues in Neurology presented the findings of a longitudinal study on a group of 173 recently diagnosed Parkinson’s patients. Of this group, those who with an apolipoprotein E ε4 (APOE4) allele had faster cognitive decline on the 30-point Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) scale than noncarriers (estimate -1.33, 95% CI -2.12 to -0.47, P=0.002). However, among the APOE4 carriers, higher physical activity was related to slower cognitive decline (estimate 0.007, 95% CI 0.003-0.011, P=0.001)..

Dr Jun noted that this reflects a number of studies that have demonstrated that Parkinson’s patients who exercise regularly show better clinical outcomes, including motor and cognitive function.

“These observations are supported by epidemiological data showing a link between physical activity and decreased risk for Parkinson’s disease,” Dr Jun told MedPage Today. “Because previous data indicate that physical activity modifies the APOE4 effect on the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease, we hypothesized that physical activity also plays a role in modulating the association between APOE4 and cognition in Parkinson’s disease.”

Genetic factors interact with physical activity on other health outcomes, noted Jacob Raber, PhD, of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, and colleagues, in an accompanying editorial.

“If similar gene-by-physical activity interactions were identified in Parkinson’s disease, they could pave the way for personalized treatment,” Raber and colleagues wrote. “While the effects of APOE4 on promoting beta-amyloid and tau pathology are well-established, recent studies show that APOE4 is also associated with more profound pathology of alpha-synuclein and higher measures of cognitive burden, both in mouse models and in humans with Parkinson’s disease.”

In their study, the researchers followed recently diagnosed patients in the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative cohort who were not treated for Parkinson’s and who had abnormal dopamine transporter (DAT) imaging.

Self-reported physical activity was begun 2 years after enrollment and scored on the Physical Activity Scale of the Elderly. Cognitive function was measured annually with the MoCA, which is well-suited for Parkinson’s patients, and DAT imaging was performed at years 2 and 4. Assessments performed at years 2, 3, and 4 were used for analysis.

There was no significant interaction seen between physical activity and APOE4 involving change in striatal DAT activities. This suggests that striatal dopaminergic function may not be a major factor in physical activity’s protective effect on APOE4-related cognitive decline, Dr Jun and colleagues noted. “These negative results may be explained by the modest effect of APOE4 on the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system,” they wrote. “Furthermore, our follow-up duration may be too short to comprehend the impact of APOE4 on this system, considering the slow progressive nature of alpha-synucleinopathy.”

The researchers also pointed out that the exercise could offer benefits through mechanisms unrelated to the disease. “Although we cannot conclude what types or amounts of exercise help to slow progression from this study design, even non-high-intensity physical activity positively modified the impact of APOE4 on cognitive function,” Jun said.

The study’s limitations included physical activity being self-reported, cognitive function being based only on MoCA scores, and a short follow-up time. Though motor scores in the off-medication state were adjusted for, physical activity may have been less due to disease progression.

Source: MedPage Today

Green Light for New Device for MS Treatment

The American Food & Drug Administration has approved a new device for treating gait deficits in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.

The Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator (PoNS), generates electrical pulses on the tongue to stimulate trigeminal and facial nerves to treat motor deficits. The FDA said that for it to be available by prescription, must be part of a supervised therapeutic exercise program in MS patients 22 and older. The device was authorised through the FDA’s ‘de novo’ premarket review pathway for new devices which pose do not pose significant risks of adverse effects.

In a statement, Christopher Loftus, MD, acting director of the Office of Neurological and Physical Medicine Devices in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said: “MS is one of the most common neurological diseases in young adults. Today’s authorisation offers a valuable new aid in physical therapy and increases the value of additional therapies for those who live with MS on a daily basis.”

Onset of MS symptoms, which can include difficulties with walking and balance, typically occurs between 20 and 40, with greater frequency in women.

The PoNS device electrical stimulates the dorsal surface of the patient’s tongue. A control unit is worn around the neck which sends signals to a mouthpiece which the patient keeps in place with lips and teeth. Later, usage data can be viewed by a therapist to spot “potential areas of missed or shortened sessions,” the FDA noted.

The FDA gave their approval based on two clinical studies. One involved 20 MS patients with gait deficits (half with PoNS; half with a sham device). Th FDA said that the PoNS group showed “statistically significant and clinically significant” improvement in Dynamic Gait Index (DGI) scores at 14 weeks not seen in the sham device group.

The other study, with 14 patients, showed improvements from baseline in sensory organisation task scores (but not in DGI scores) at 14 weeks. There were no serious safety or adverse effects reported.

Among the FDA’s cautions, the FDA stated that the PoNS device should not be used by patients with penetrating brain injuries, neurodegenerative diseases, oral health problems, chronic infectious diseases, unmanaged hypertension or diabetes, pacemakers, or a history of seizures.

Source: MedPage Today

Retinal Images Could Provide Stroke and Dementia Warning

In the future, images of the retina could warn of a person’s increased risk of stroke and dementia, making it possible to take preventive measures.

These findings come from preliminary research to be presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2021.

Retinopathy is damage to the retina from injury or disease, commonly associated with diabetes. People with severe retinopathy are more likely to have a diseased-looking brain on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Retinal tissue has the highest consumption of oxygen in the body, and is the most vulnerable to oxidative stress. Most causes of retinopathy involve damage to the retinal and choroidal circulatory systems.

Study Lead Author Michelle P  Lin, MD., MPH, Neurologist at Mayo Clinic explained:”The retina is a window to the brain. A retinal photo that shows a magnified look at the back of the eye, including the retina and optic nerve, is cheaper and faster to perform than an MRI, so we’re wondering if it might be a good screening tool to see who could benefit from a referral to a neurologist for a brain MRI.”

In addition to the ophthalmologist’s office, retinal photos could be taken by a smartphone camera or via a smartphone adapter, Lin said.

Researchers explored the association of retinopathy with stroke, dementia, and the risk of death in 5543 adults who had participated in the annual US National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) from 2005 to 2008. Interviews were conducted with the participants on a number of aspects of their medical history and health behaviours. Additionally, they received a retinal scan photo to look for signs of retinopathy.

Compared with participants not diagnosed with retinopathy, those with retinopathy were more than twice as likely to have had a stroke. They were also  nearly 70% more likely to have dementia; and more likely to die within the next 10 years, with increasing severity of retinopathy conferring a higher risk of death. The odds were calculated after adjusting for risk factors such as age, hypertension, diabetes and smoking.

“If you have retinopathy, work closely with your primary care doctor to alter your vascular risk factors and ask to be screened for cognitive impairment. You may be referred to a neurologist for evaluation and possibly a brain MRI,” said Dr Lin, who is also an assistant professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.

Source: News-Medical.Net

A Non-invasive Parkinson’s Test Inspired by Scent

A  skin swab test has been developed for Parkinson’s disease, based on biomarker analysis of sebum, the oils that protect the skin – and it has a surprising inspiration. 

This comes about after the remarkable discovery of a woman’s ability to detect a certain smell in people who had the disease. 

Joy Milne, a retired nurse, noticed a “musky” scent on her husband years before he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. A series of tests showed that she could detect the presence of Parkinson’s disease in people with 100% based on smell alone, prompting research which isolated the compounds she was smelling: higher concentrations of hippuric acid, eicosane, and octadecanal.

In order to exploit these biomarkers, researchers developed a mass spectrometry test to pick up their levels in sebum obtained with skin swabs. This has proved to be around 80% accurate.

Prof Perdita Barran said: “We believe that our results are an extremely encouraging step towards tests that could be used to help diagnose and monitor Parkinson’s.

“Not only is the test quick, simple and painless but it should also be extremely cost-effective because it uses existing technology that is already widely available.

“We are now looking to take our findings forwards to refine the test to improve accuracy even further and to take steps towards making this a test that can be used in the NHS and to develop more precise diagnostics and better treatment for this debilitating condition.”

This new test with its high reliability could help the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, which can be easily missed, especially in the early stages.
Daxa Kalayci, 56, was misdiagnosed several times over four years before finally finding out she had Parkinson’s in 2019.

“I was misdiagnosed with anxiety, stress-related tremors and told that my problems stemmed from going through the menopause,” she said.

“Despite my diagnosis eventually being confirmed… a quick and simple diagnostic test for Parkinson’s would have given me the chance to start my treatment earlier and enjoy life a lot more.

“But instead, I lost so many years not being able to pursue a career as a paramedic or go back to nursing.

“This test could be a game-changer for people living with Parkinson’s and searching for answers, like I was.”

Source: BBC News