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Researchers identify chemical signature for 'fast' form of Parkinson's

Monday November 25, 2013

The detection of this biomarker could help in early detection of the degenerative disorder, helping doctors plan out a course of treatment to manage the incurable disease.
Ananth Baliga

UPI - Scientists at UCLA and Emory University have identified a biochemical signature in the blood of patients with the faster-progressing form of Parkinson's disease.

Researchers conducted the study using blood samples from 250 Parkinson's patients in the early stages of the disease. Forty were identified as having the slower-progressing Parkinson's and 40 had the faster-progressing form of the degenerative disease.

On comparing the blood samples of these individuals with samples of 20 healthy individuals, they found a potential biomarker called N8-acetyl spermidine, which was significantly elevated in the fast-progressors.

"Such biomarkers reflecting the pathogenesis of Parkinson's are greatly needed due to the fact that the degeneration of the neurons in the brain that produce dopamine -- a hallmark of Parkinson's disease -- is an irreversible process. In addition, that process begins up to 20 to 30 years before imaging can identify any brain changes," said Beate Ritz, a professor at UCLA.

Researchers say the discovery of this biomarker could help in early detection and more effective disease management. Their findings are published online in PLOS ONE.

Parkinson's is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. It initially manifests as movement-related problems like shaking, rigidity and slowness of movement, progressing to thinking and behavioral problems later on.

You can read the full scientific journal article at http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0077629

Baliga, A. (25 Nov. 2013). UPI. Researchers identify chemical signature for 'fast' form of Parkinson's. www.upi.com.