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Spinal fluid test could give early diagnosis of Parkinson's disease

The first signs of having the disease include body tremors, but this new test could give a diagnosis before symptoms present.

Spinal tap test could detect Parkinson's disease a lot earlier.
Spinal tap test could detect Parkinson's disease a lot earlier.

TESTING FOR PROTEIN biomarkers in spinal fluid could show up the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, giving an early diagnosis, a study has found.

New research by the Perelman School of Medicine researchers at the University of Pennsylvania has found that people with early Parkinson’s had lower levels of amyloid beta, tau and alpha synuclein in their spinal fluid.


Those with with low levels of amyloid beta and tau were more likely to have the postural instability-gait disturbance- dominant (PIGD) motor type of disease. This form of the disease can cause those who have the disease to fall and walking can be difficult.

The study, which was published in JAMA Neurology, came from the five-year Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI). Spinal taps were carried out on 102 participants.

Of those that took part in the study, 63 people either had early and untreated Parkinson’s disease. The tests were compared to 39 individuals unaffected by the disease.

Parkinson’s progression

Protein bio-markers were found to be low in those suffering from the disease which researchers stating it could be key in further research on how Parkinson’s progresses.

ScienceDaily.com reports that Dr. John Trojanowski, director of the Penn Udall Center for Parkinson’s Research said that “early prediction is critical, for both motor and dementia symptoms.

This spinal fluid testing procedure is only being used in research studies at the moment and will be evaluated in a larger study at a later date.

Read: ‘Human brain cells in mice’ technique could help tackle Parkinson’s>

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