Monday January 21, 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

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

Thinning of Retina Maybe Linked to Parkinson’s: Researchers

The thinning of the retina corresponded with the loss of brain cells that produce dopamine and the severity of the disease.

Parkinson's Disease
GREAT MANCHESTER RUN 2010 Parkinson's UK Runners 16 May 2010 Manchester

The thinning of retina — the lining of nerve cells in the back of the eye — could be linked to Parkinson’s disease, a finding that can boost diagnoses to detect the disease in its earliest stages, researchers have found.

According to the study, the thinning of the retina is linked to the loss of brain cells that produce dopamine, a substance that helps control movement — a hallmark of the Parkinson’s disease that impairs motor ability.

“Our study is the first to show a link between the thinning of the retina and a known sign of the progression of the disease — the loss of brain cells that produce dopamine,” said Jee-Young Lee, from the Seoul National University in South Korea.

Parkinson's Disease
Representational Image. Flickr

“We also found the thinner the retina, the greater the severity of disease. These discoveries may mean that neurologists may eventually be able to use a simple eye scan to detect Parkinson’s disease in its earliest stages, before problems with movement begin,” Lee added.

The study, published in the journal Neurology, involved 49 people with an average age of 69 years who were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease two years earlier but who had not yet started medication. They were compared to 54 people without the disease who were matched for age.

The team evaluated each participant with a complete eye exam, high-resolution eye scans as well as PET scan and found retina thinning, most notably in the two inner layers of the five layers of the retina, in those with Parkinson’s disease.

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

In addition, the thinning of the retina corresponded with the loss of brain cells that produce dopamine and the severity of the disease.

Also Read: Headache Due to Spending Long Hours in Front of Computer? Here’s How You Can Protect Your Eyes!

If confirmed in larger studies, “retina scans may not only allow earlier treatment of Parkinson’s disease but more precise monitoring of treatments that could slow progression of the disease as well”, Lee said. (IANS)