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New technique has been developed by scientists that could help diagnose Parkinson’s disease at an early age

Scientists have developed a new technique that can detect Parkinson’s disease in its early stages before symptoms manifest, which could speed up treatment. Parkinson’s is currently difficult to diagnose as there are no specific tests for the condition, and symptoms vary from person to person, which can lead to misdiagnosis.

The technique, called alpha-synuclein seed amplification assay (alphaSyn-SAA), can identify abnormal proteins associated with the disease before symptoms appear, potentially helping to identify people at risk of developing the disease. The research was published in The Lancet Neurology journal.

Parkinson’s is caused by the accumulation of abnormal proteins in the nervous system and brain, which begins years before physical symptoms like tremors and muscle stiffness appear. The study included 1,123 participants and found that the alphaSyn-SAA technique accurately detected people with Parkinson’s and identified individuals at risk of developing the disease before diagnosis.

The researchers caution that longer-term studies with larger sample sizes will be needed to determine the effectiveness of the alphaSyn-SAA technique. The study’s co-lead author, Prof. Andrew Siderowf of the University of Pennsylvania, said that the development of an effective biomarker for Parkinson’s pathology could lead to early diagnosis, personalized treatment, and faster clinical trials.

With 10 million people worldwide suffering from Parkinson’s and its prevalence doubling in the past 25 years, the technique could have significant implications for the diagnosis and treatment of the disease. High-profile diagnoses of Parkinson’s, such as those of British television presenter Jeremy Paxman and US congresswoman Jennifer Wexton, have raised awareness of the disease.


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