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In A Groundbreaking New Study, Researchers Developed A Blood Test That May Be Able To Identify Parkinson’s Disease Up To Seven Years Prior To Symptom Onset

Rido - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

Approximately 1 million people in the United States have Parkinson’s disease (PD), a progressive disorder impacting the nervous system. Yet, this degenerative disorder has been notoriously difficult to detect in its early stages.

Typically, once symptoms such as stiffness and tremors are already appearing, significant damage has already occurred and is irreversible.

However, a new study is providing hope for earlier intervention and improved outcomes. Researchers at the University College London have developed a simple blood test that may be capable of identifying Parkinson’s disease up to seven years prior to when movement symptoms present.

This revolutionary test only needs to quantify the levels of eight proteins within our blood. The researchers used artificial intelligence (AI) and found that the specific pattern of these proteins could consistently differentiate Parkinson’s patients from healthy individuals with perfect accuracy.

Moreover, the test identified nearly 80% of individuals in the earliest stage of Parkinson’s disease before any movement symptoms even appeared.

The study builds on past research, which suggests that, although Parkinson’s is primarily a brain disorder, other significant changes throughout the body – like inflammation – are also involved.

So, the eight-protein signature is comprised of various markers indicative of cellular stress and an overactive immune system. This highlights biological processes that deviate from the norm years before PD’s characteristic brain changes lead to neuron death.

The researchers first conducted a broad comparison of blood samples from a small group of recently diagnosed Parkinson’s disease patients and healthy individuals to develop the test. This comparison showed several proteins with varying levels between the two groups, indicating that inflammation and cellular stress responses were involved.

Afterward, the researchers created a targeted test to accurately measure proteins deemed the most promising. The test was validated in a large cohort, which was comprised of Parkinson’s patients, healthy controls, and individuals with REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) – which is a critical early sign of Parkinson’s.

Rido – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

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