Recent research conducted by Newcastle University experts suggests that cognitive decline caused by Parkinson’s Disease might be predicted by a blood test, which could help identify early signs of dementia or motor impediments.
According to lead investigator Dr Gabriele Saretzki, Newcastle University’s lecturer in ageing research, “the development of suitable blood-based biomarkers to predict outcomes is important for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, which progress over many years”.
The development of suitable blood-based biomarkers to predict outcomes is important for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, which progress over many yearsDr Gabriele Saretzki, Lead Investogator, Newcastle University
The study focused specifically on telomere, a compound structure at the end of a chromosome, and its length as a predictor. Telomere were shorter in patients with Parkinson’s compared to healthy patients. A difference was also identified when comparing patients with the disease who developed dementia after 36 months, and those who still had the disease, but didn’t present such symptoms at the same time.
Parkinson’s diagnoses are set to rise by nearly a fifth by 2025Parkinson’s UK analysis
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the brain cells responsible for the production of dopamine. According to the NHS, this causes three main symptoms: tremors, slow movement and stiff muscles. Although treatments can vary from physiotherapy to brain surgery, a definitive cure has not yet been found.
According to Parkinson’s UK analysis, Parkinson’s Disease is an increasingly common disease. The analysis mentioned that “Parkinson’s diagnoses are set to rise by nearly a fifth by 2025”, mainly because of the aging population.
The Co-investigator for the research, Dr Roger Baker suggests that its findings might help in the pursuit of a cure. He said: “Being able to reliably predict the clinical path a patient with newly diagnosed PD will follow would greatly help in terms of planning their treatment now and in the way we do trials of disease-modifying interventions in the future. This study provides an example of how this could be done using a simple blood sample.”
Last modified: 27th February 2020