New Test for Parkinson's May Diagnose Disease Even Before the Onset of Symptoms, Study Finds

New Test for Parkinson's May Diagnose Disease Even Before the Onset of Symptoms, Study Finds

A new study published in The Lancet Neurology suggests that a technique called alpha-synuclein seed amplification assay (SAA) could help identify people with Parkinson's disease before the onset of motor symptoms. 

Parkinson's disease is a condition that affects the nervous system and causes movement issues. The SAA test can detect small amounts of a protein called alpha-synuclein, which is linked to Parkinson's disease. The test can identify individuals at risk of developing the disease and those with initial non-motor symptoms. This tool can detect individuals likely to develop the illness years before experiencing brain damage, emphasizing the significance of early intervention for improved prognosis. 

The study analyzed samples of cerebrospinal fluid taken from over 1,000 participants, including those with symptoms but not the typical shaking or stiffness, and correctly identified the disease in 96% of cases in individuals without a known genetic cause of the disease. The test's accuracy, however, varied in those with specific gene variants. 

The study's authors suggest that the SAA technique could be used as a biomarker to aid in the early detection of Parkinson's disease, even before an official diagnosis.

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