Tag Archives: Diagnosis

New research could lead to improved methods of detection for early-onset Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Recording the responses of fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) to different visual patterns, using methods adapted from the study of vision in humans, scientists investigated the nervous systems of flies with different types of Parkinson’s mutations.

The researchers compared flies carrying mutations associated with early-onset Parkinson’s with ‘normal’ control flies and found increased neuronal activity to stimulation in the former group in ‘young’ flies.

By mapping the visual responses of fruit flies with different Parkinson’s genes, the scientists built a substantial data bank of results. Using this they were able to classify unknown flies as having a Parkinson’s-related mutation with 85 per cent accuracy.

Researchers believe it may be possible to transfer this method back to the clinic where early changes in vision may provide a ‘biomarker’ allowing screening for Parkinson’s before the onset of traditional motor-symptoms. Therefore, profiling human visual responses could prove an accurate and reliable test in diagnosing people with early-onset PD.

This method is also likely to succeed when transferred to human detection of Parkinson’s, as visual profiling in humans has proved accurate in the past in detecting genetic markers. In this study, as more complex light stimulations have been used, a more accurate picture of detecting a wider variety of different genetic markers has been revealed.

Source: University of York

Parkinson’s disease has an insidious onset and is diagnosed when typical motor features occur. Several motor and non-motor features can occur before diagnosis, early in the disease process.

This study aimed to assess the association between first presentation of several prediagnostic features in primary care and a subsequent diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, and to chart the timeline of these first presentations before diagnosis.

8166 individuals with a first diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and 46755 people without Parkinson’s disease were identified from The Health Improvement Network UK primary care database.

A range of prediagnostic features such as tremor, balance impairment, constipation, depression were detected by the study several years before diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in primary care. These data can be incorporated into ongoing efforts to identify individuals at the earliest stages of the disease for inclusion in future trials and to help understand progression in the earliest phase of Parkinson’s disease.

Source:  The Lancet

The ALzheimer’s COoperative Valuation in Europe (ALCOVE) project was a Joint Action co-financed by the European Commission to produce a set of evidence-based recommendations for policymakers on dementia.

A recent article published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry reports on progress regarding the ALCOVE work-stream devoted to timely diagnosis.

Brooker, D. La Fontaine, J. [and] Evans, S. [et al] (2014). Public health guidance to facilitate timely diagnosis of dementia: ALzheimer’s COoperative Valuation in Europe recommendations. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. July 2014, Vol.29(7),pp.682-93.