A new study conducted on hundreds of patients confirmed that monitoring the “alpha-synuclein” protein at high levels in the patient’s brain can largely reflect the person’s Parkinson’s disease, or what is also called Parkinson’s.
A study, the results of which were published Thursday, confirmed that the accumulation of the protein “alpha-synuclein” in the brain is indeed linked to certain forms of Parkinson’s disease, which may open the way for early diagnosis of this disease.
The study, published in the “Lancet Neurology” magazine, under the supervision of American neurologist Andrew Sideroff, concluded that the presence of high levels of this protein in the cerebrospinal fluid “helps with great accuracy (determine) the typical forms of Parkinson’s disease.”
Along with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease is one of the major diseases affecting the brain. However, it is still largely unknown the cause of this malignant injury, which gradually loses the patient’s ability to move.
Reducing the impact of symptoms
But there is something that patients can do to develop mechanisms to cope with the disease to some extent and forget about it, even for a short time, and this is what a club playing ping-pong, or table tennis, in the German capital, Berlin, does. There people with Parkinson’s disease meet to practice this sport. This club calls itself “Ping Pong Parkinson’s”.
Lucy Krippner, one of the women who plays ping-pong at the club, says she forgets about her illness when she is so engrossed in playing with the other participants. Club officials say that this has a therapeutic effect. It is also useful for patients to get to know other people in a similar situation, so that they can exchange advice.
However, several factors have been linked to this disease. In this context, it has been known for years that patients often have alpha-synuclein in the brain.
This new study, the first of its kind conducted on hundreds of patients, confirmed that monitoring the presence of this protein at high levels can largely reflect a person’s Parkinson’s disease.
However, the results are not equal in accuracy. Patients who carry a gene mutation known as LRRK2, which is associated with certain forms of Parkinson’s disease, do not have these lumps systematically.
However, we are still a long way from having a “biological” test for Parkinson’s disease, which is currently diagnosed only by its symptoms.
In particular, it will be necessary to determine if the technique works well with blood tests, which are much easier to perform than those for cerebrospinal fluid.
But this study “lays the foundations for the biological diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease,” according to a comment also published in “The Lancet Neurology” by neurologists Daniela Berg and Christine Klein, who were not involved in the research.
And the two doctors considered that the results of the study prove that alpha-synuclein protein “changes the equation in diagnosis, research and clinical trials for Parkinson’s disease.”