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Blood test may soon be used to detect Parkinson’s disease

Blood test may soon be used to detect Parkinson’s disease

A blood test could soon be used to diagnose Parkinson’s disease.

Brought to the public's attention after Back to the Future actor Michael J. Fox opened up about his own Parkinson’s diagnosis in 1998, six years after her learnt about it, many people know the devastating effects the condition can have.

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition, and it’s estimated that one person in every 500 has it. It causes sufferers to involuntary shake parts of their body, have slow movement and stiff and inflexible muscles. It can also cause depression, anxiety, balance problems, a loss of sense of smell, and sleeping and memory problems.

Until now the condition is determined from a spinal fluid test, but researchers at Lund University in Sweden have discovered a quicker and simpler way to get results; via a blood test. The team, led by Dr Oskar Hansson, found there is a protein in the blood which is an accurate marker of the disease, after testing the blood of 504 people from Britain and Sweden.

The finding is an important one, as although there is currently no cure for the disease, an early detection may help doctors slow down symptoms. It’s thought that Parkinson’s begins long before symptoms appear.

“Our findings are exciting because when Parkinson's or an atypical parkinsonism disorder is suspected, one simple blood test will help a physician to give their patient a more accurate diagnosis,” Dr Hansson said.

“These atypical parkinsonism disorders are rare, but they generally progress much faster and are more likely to be the cause of death than Parkinson's disease, so it's important for patients and their families to receive the best care possible and to plan for their future needs.”

The study has been published in journal Neurology.

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