Changes in the brain that can be noticed years before physical symptoms of Parkinson's disease may serve as an early warning sign of the condition, researchers say.
It is estimated that about 145,000 people in the UK live with Parkinson's disease. disease, neurological disease that can lead to mobility problems, including slowing and trembling, as well as other symptoms such as memory difficulties. There are treatments to help with the symptoms, but the disease can not be delayed or cured.
Researchers based at King's College London say the latest discoveries can lead to new ways to identify people who can develop Parkinson's disease; findings can also confirm diagnoses, monitor disease progression, and help develop and test drugs. Some scientists say that this development may be a bit far.
Most of the Parkinson's cases do not seem to have a reason, so the people affected by the disease have not been studied before the symptoms develop.
But studies by the Royal College on genetic mutations that make Parkinson's more likely to show signs of warning.
Marissa Politis, a professor and lead author of the study, said, "If you carry a gene [SNCA]it's almost certain that you will develop Parkinson's disease in the course of your life.
It is believed that a genetic mutation involving the SNCA gene has occurred in the villages of Peloponnes, Greece . But Politis said carriers are rare. "I do not think there are more than 1
Writing in the journal Lancet Neurology, Politis and his colleagues described how 10 people with this genetic mutation in the United Kingdom were brought from Greece, like four people from Italy. Evaluators and brain scan were given to participants
While half of these participants had physical symptoms of Parkinson's disease, the other seven did not. The team also analyzed estimates and scans 65 people with Parkinson's disease who did not have genetic mutations associated with this condition.
People with Parkinson's disease show worsening of brain systems that include a neurotransmitter called dopamine that is thought to be behind some symptoms such as slow motion. But there are signs of deterioration of another brain chemical serotonin
The study showed that compared with the scans of 25 healthy subjects, scans from participants with physical symptoms of Parkinson's disease showed worsening of both dopamine and serotonin systems. brain – whether the individuals had a genetic mutation.
Loss of serotonin neurons is observed in many regions in the brains of people who have a genetic predisposition to Parkinson's disease but have no physical symptoms. Politis noted that these individuals had a 34% reduction in serotonin neurons compared to healthy subjects. The changes were observed about 15 to 20 years before these individuals began to experience physical symptoms. In addition, these genetically predisposed participants did not show signs of worsening their dopamine system. "This in itself is a serious breakthrough in how you see Parkinson's disease," says Politis.
He said the findings are exciting and can pave the way for screening or even suggest ways to test new drugs to see if they work. "This is an entirely new window for the disorder," Politis said.
Roger Barker, a professor of clinical neurology at Cambridge University, said the findings support suspicions that the first signs of Parkinson's disease can not be found in the dopamine system. But he said there remain questions, including whether early changes in the serotonin system were found in other groups at risk from Parkinson's, and whether these changes are advanced over time – and can reliably predict when physical symptoms may occur.
He noted that scanning
Bekky Port, Parkinson's Communications Research Manager in the UK, said further research is needed, but suggests that the findings could create new opportunities. "We can not give someone a brain scan at this time to treat them earlier, delay or disrupt the condition, and perhaps prevent them from being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. But with this discovery, the future, where possible, seems a little closer. "