Parkinson’s disease can now be detected via a simple blood test, say Australian researchers.
The very first blood test to diagnose Parkinson’s disease has been developed by a team of scientists.
The disease is normally detected by conducting a neurological examination which is, however, not as effective as researchers would want it. Patients taking the test normally already display symptoms of Parkinson’s at a point in the progression of the disease when a great proportion of vital brain cells have already succumbed to damage. Furthermore, the whole diagnosis process might take many years. This is why the new test is deemed to be much better.
The findings of the researchers will allow for the brain disorder to be detected early on. The earlier the disease is identified, the earlier can intervention procedures be applied, and the patients’ lives will thus be greatly enhanced, as pointed out by one of the researchers, Paul Fisher.
The test might be accessible to the public in 5 years’ time.
The researchers found that mitochondrial activity in Parkinson’s patients was higher than that in the cells of healthy people. The mitochondria were actually four times more active in the former;
Fisher said that they “were working four times as hard”. This is surprising, given that the team was expected the opposite, that the activity would be lower for the patients.
This greater activity will hopefully allow scientists to consider new treatment methods, says Fisher.
A greater trial for the blood test will soon begin before it is made accessible to the public.