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Scientists at the University College London have made a significant breakthrough in diagnosing Parkinson’s disease even before symptoms appear. Scientists have developed a blood test that can identify signs of the disease seven years before symptoms start appearing. It is a significant breakthrough for a disease that affects millions of people around the globe and is characterized by tremors, stiffness, and immobility.

Parkinson Test

The blood test focuses on measuring eight proteins in the blood. With the help of artificial intelligence, the researchers successfully discovered a pattern of the proteins that could distinguish Parkinson’s symptoms from those of healthy people. The fact that the test flagged eight out of every ten individuals in the earliest stages of the disease affirms its effectiveness and reliability.

This advancement is supported by increasing proof that Parkinson’s disease, primarily affecting the brain, also brings about unique alterations throughout the body, particularly in terms of inflammation. The eight-protein pattern features various indicators of overly active immune response and cellular stress, suggesting biological mechanisms that diverge from their normal path well before the disease’s characteristic brain alterations lead to the death of neurons.

This successful blood test marks a significant step forward in the quest for a critical goal in Parkinson’s research: a straightforward, cost-effective test to identify the disease at an early stage before a large number of brain cells are lost.

Parkinson Disease

On the other hand, the focus on inflammatory proteins also supports the emerging view that Parkinson’s is not solely a brain disorder. It is clear that it is a systemic illness with early warning signs detectable in the blood. Understanding how these inflammatory changes are linked to, and possibly even cause, the aggregation of the harmful protein alpha-synuclein could lead to a breakthrough in developing targeted therapies to slow or stop the progression of the disease.

Transforming a promising blood test into a widely accepted diagnostic and screening method is a lengthy process that demands further evidence and adjustments. However, for the countless individuals affected by or at risk of Parkinson’s and their families, studies like this provide a much-needed ray of hope. A future where a simple blood test can identify Parkinson’s at its earliest stages, enabling rapid initiation of protective treatments, might not be as unrealistic as previously believed.