Sunday June 16, 2019

Testing Tears May Help In Early Diagnosis Of Parkinson’s Disease

The differences in protein can accurately predict the neurological disorder, the findings showed

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The reason that Parkinson’s disease develops is not known. Wikimedia commons

Testing tears may be a cheap, non-invasive as well as reliable technique for early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, say scientists.

It is because tears contain various proteins produced by the secretory cells of the tear gland, which is stimulated by nerves to secrete these proteins into tears.

The differences in protein can accurately predict the neurological disorder, the findings showed.

ALSO READ: Progression of Parkinson disease could be slowed with exercise

“We believe our research is the first to show that tears may be a reliable, inexpensive and non-invasive biological marker of Parkinson’s disease,” said Mark Lew, from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

As Parkinson’s can affect nerve function outside of the brain, the research team hypothesized that any change in nerve function may be seen in the protein levels in tears and thus help differentiate between people with and with Parkinson’s.

Parkinson's disease
Out of 10 million people worldwide, 7 million people from India suffer Parkinson’s disease. Pixabay

“Because the Parkinson’s disease process can begin years or decades before symptoms appear, a biological marker like this could be useful in diagnosing, or even treating, the disease earlier,” Lew noted.

For the preliminary study, to be presented at the 2018 AAN Annual Meeting in Los Angeles in April, tear samples from a small group with Parkinson’s were compared to tear samples with those who did not have the disease.

ALSO READ: 60 Percent people mistake Parkinson’s Symptoms for Old age due to lack of Awareness: Neurologists

The results showed that total levels of protein alpha-synuclein were decreased in people with Parkinson’s, while the levels of protein oligomeric alpha-synuclein were increased in people with Parkinson’s, compared to people without Parkinson’s.

It is possible that the tear gland secretory cells themselves produce these different forms of alpha-synuclein that can be directly secreted into tears.

However, more research now needs to be done in larger groups of people to investigate whether these protein changes can be detected in tears in the earliest stages of the disease before symptoms start. (IANS)

Next Story

Novel Treatment Offers Promise to Stop Parkinson’s

After nine months, there was no change in the PET scans of those who received placebo. On the other hand, the group who received GDNF showed an improvement of 100 per cent in a key area of the brain affected in the condition

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10 million people living worldwide suffer from Parkinson;s disease Pixabay
10 million people living worldwide suffer from Parkinson;s disease Pixabay

An experimental treatment that delivers a drug directly to the brain has shown promise for slowing, stopping, or even reversing Parkinson’s disease, say researchers.

The study, by a team led by University of Bristol researchers, in a clinical trial investigated whether the treatment called Glial Cell Line Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF) — a natural protein, found in the brain — can regenerate dying dopamine brain cells in patients with Parkinson’s and reverse their condition, something no existing treatment can do.

The results potentially demonstrated that the new treatment was starting to reawaken and restore damaged brain cells and that repeated brain infusion is clinically feasible and tolerable, according in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.

The study “represents some of the most compelling evidence yet that we may have a means to possibly reawaken and restore the dopamine brain cells that are gradually destroyed in Parkinson’s”, said principal investigator Alan L. Whone, from the University of Bristol in the UK.

After an initial safety study of six people, 35 individuals were enrolled in the nine-month double blind trial, in which half were randomly assigned to receive monthly infusions of GDNF and the other half placebo infusions.

Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson’s Disease Gets Awareness From Various Events. Flickr

All participants underwent robot-assisted surgery to have four tubes placed into their brains, which allowed GDNF or placebo to be infused directly to the affected areas with pinpoint accuracy, via a port in their head.

After implantation the team administered, more than 1,000 brain infusions, once every four weeks.

After nine months, there was no change in the PET scans of those who received placebo. On the other hand, the group who received GDNF showed an improvement of 100 per cent in a key area of the brain affected in the condition.

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“This trial has shown that we can safely and repeatedly infuse drugs directly into patients’ brains over months or years,” said Steven Gill, lead neurosurgeon at North Bristol NHS Trust, Bristol, UK

“This is a significant breakthrough in our ability to treat neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s, because most drugs that might work cannot cross from the blood stream into the brain due to a natural protective barrier.” (IANS)