New blood test detects 90% Parkinson's risk
Researchers at the University of Oxford have discovered a blood test that can determine with 90 percent accuracy whether a person is at risk of developing Parkinson's disease.
The condition is one of the most common neurodegenerative disorders. In Europe, it is estimated that between 1 and 2 percent of people over the age of 65 live with the disease.
Physical symptoms of Parkinson's include tremors, slower movements, and stiffer muscles. There is also a psychological impact, with people who have the condition also experiencing depression, anxiety and dementia. These symptoms worsen over time.
Diagnosing Parkinson's can be challenging because of how common the symptoms can be.
However, the blood test developed by the University of Oxford team could help speed up the process.
The team used an improved version of an antibody test to measure levels of alpha-synuclein - a small protein linked to Parkinson's disease - in the blood.
Parkinson's disease begins to spread more than a decade before patients have visible symptoms, as brain cells struggle to manage the impact of alpha-synuclein.
These proteins build up and end up in abnormal clusters that damage sensitive nerve cells, causing the well-known movement disorder and often leading to dementia.