Simple blood test diagnoses Parkinson’s disease long before symptoms appear

Scientists in the School of Health and Medicine at the University of Lancaster, UK, have developed a simple blood test for phosphorylated alpha-synuclein that detects Parkinson’s disease even at the earliest stages.
To develop the blood test, the researchers studied a group of people diagnosed with the disease and a second group of healthy people of a similar age. Blood samples from each group were analysed to determine the levels of phosphorylated alpha-synuclein present. They found those with Parkinson’s disease had increased levels. Based upon these findings, they developed a blood test that detects the presence of phosphorylated alpha-synuclein, which could allow for diagnosis of the disease well before symptoms appear but when brain damage has already begun to occur. This blood test could not only help rule out other possible causes of the outward symptoms which occur in Parkinson’s disease, but it could also allow early detection of the disease, which could help patients and their caregivers prepare for the possibility of the mental, emotional and behavioral problems that the disease can cause.