NWPF

News ArchivesRead News

Parkinson's Disease Early Stages Detected With 'Simple' MRI; Up To 85% Accurate

Wednesday June 11, 2014

Samantha Olson

Medical Daily - Detecting a life-threatening disease could give researchers the power of earlier diagnosis, treatment approaches, and innovative therapies — a power that could one day possibly lead to cure a disease like Parkinson’s. Researchers from Oxford University published their findings in the journal of Neurology, which reveal a promising new diagnostic approach for the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.

“At the moment we have no way to predict who is at risk of Parkinson's disease in the vast majority of cases,” said Dr. Clare Mackay, the study’s co-author and professor of the Department of Psychiatry at Oxford University. Oxford researchers are turning the tables on that bleak risk evaluation now that they have developed an expediently simple technique to diagnose early Parkinson’s stages with a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine with 85 percent accuracy. A normal MRI scan cannot detect the early signs, which is why researchers used restating state functional MRI (fMRI) to look at how strong the brain connections were in the basal ganglia, where important dopamine nerves are located.

“We are excited that this MRI technique might prove to be a good marker for the earliest signs of Parkinson's. The results are very promising,” Mackay said. Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that progresses very slowly in most people. In America alone, as many as one million people are currently living with Parkinson’s disease, with an additional 60,000 diagnosed each year. According to the National Parkinson’s Foundation, there is no one exact way to diagnose the disease, but there are a variety of symptoms that can indicate a diagnosis.

“We think that our MRI test will be relevant for diagnosis of Parkinson's,” said Dr. Michele Hu, the study’s co-author and professor of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at Oxford University and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Parkinson’s disease symptoms include hand tremors, slow movement, and stiff, inflexible muscles. The disease is caused by the continual loss of a particular set of dopamine nerve cells in the brain, which start much earlier than symptoms begin to show. Dopamine helps humans to make smooth, coordinated muscle movements, and when these cells are impaired, neurodegeneration takes place.

“We tested it in people with early-stage Parkinson's. But because it is so sensitive in these patients, we hope it will be able to predict who is at risk of disease before anysymptoms have developed. However, this is something that we still have to show in further research,” Hu said.

As of yet, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but there are treatments that are able to at least reduce certain symptoms and maintain quality of life as best as possible.

“This new research takes us one step closer to diagnosing Parkinson's at a much earlier stage — one of the biggest challenges facing research into the condition. By using a new, simple scanning technique the team at Oxford University have been able to study levels of activity in the brain which may suggest that Parkinson's is present,” said Claire Bale, the research communications manager at Parkinson’s UK.

Source: Hu M, Bale C, Mackay C, et al. Neurology. 2014.

Olson, Samantha. (11 June 2014). Medical Daily. Parkinson's Disease Early Stages Detected With 'Simple' MRI; Up To 85% Accurate. http://www.medicaldaily.com/parkinsons-disease-early-stages-detected-simple-mri-85-accurate-287658

Recent News

Sep 12 - Australian Researchers Develop New Diagnostic Tool to Spot Early Signs of Parkinson’s
Sep 11 - GeneFo Webinar to Focus on Using Humor to Manage Parkinson’s Disease
Sep 6 - Parkinson’s and the ‘D’ word
Sep 6 - Compounds in Asthma Drugs Might Be Used as Parkinson’s Treatment
Sep 5 - AstraZeneca Joins Takeda, Berg to Advance Development of Parkinson’s Disease Therapies
Sep 1 - Stem Cell Transplant Trial in Parkinson’s Patients Planned After Test in Japan Succeeds in Monkeys
Sep 1 - Titan to Start Phase 1/2 Study of Subdermal Implant to Deliver Requip to Parkinson’s Patients
Aug 30 - FDA Refuses Acorda’s Inbrija New Drug Application Due to Manufacturing Questions
Aug 23 - Support Groups: Are They for You?
Aug 22 - Internet Visits with Parkinson’s Specialist Can Be as Effective as In-person Visits, Trial Finds
Aug 21 - Cavion’s New CMO to Lead Cav3 Platform Development for Neurological Diseases
Aug 15 - Singing Helps Early-stage Parkinson’s Patients Retain Speech, Respiratory Control, Studies Show
Aug 14 - 16 Tips to Increase Your Mobility Confidence While Living With Parkinson’s Disease
Aug 10 - Boxers are fighting back against Parkinson’s
Aug 9 - Parkinson’s Experiment to Be Aboard Next Flight to International Space Station
Aug 9 - Parkinson’s Disease and Sleeping with the Enemy
Aug 7 - The Importance of Oral Health in Parkinson’s Disease
Aug 7 - Researchers Gain Better Insight Into Alpha-Synuclein’s Role in Parkinson’s Disease
Jul 31 - New Digital Cognitive Assessment Tool Receives Positive FDA Review
Jul 20 - Parkinson’s DREAM Challenge Uses Mobile Sensor Data to Monitor Health Based on Movement