Researchers are looking for a way to diagnose Parkinson’s disease early on in order to improve outcomes. Doctors rely on physical symptoms to diagnose the disease, but these signs can be subtle and may not manifest until it is well advanced in the brain.
Recent advances in medical research have shown promising results for the two tests SYNTap and Syn-One in detecting Parkinson’s disease by identifying traces of a key protein called alpha-synuclein. SYNTap was recently vetted in a large study by the Michael J. Fox Foundation called the Parkinson’s Progression Marker’s Initiative. At the same time, Syn-One has been available since 2019 with funding from the National Institutes of Health.
The following tests can identify a group of disorders caused by abnormal clumping of alpha-synuclein protein, including Parkinson’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, and multiple system atrophy. This could potentially lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of these disorders.
A recent study published in the journal Lancet Neurology found that the SYNTap test was accurate in detecting Parkinson’s disease in a cohort of 1,100 participants, including those with Parkinson’s disease, those with genetic or clinical risk factors but not yet diagnosed, and healthy controls. The test correctly identified people with Parkinson’s disease 88% of the time and ruled it out 96% of the time. The accuracy was even higher in people without known genetic risks for Parkinson’s disease who had also lost their sense of smell.
The test was less accurate in people with certain genetic risk factors, such as a mutation in their LRRK2 gene, which means that while the test is useful in ruling out Parkinson’s disease, it may miss some cases.
The SYNTap test is a significant step forward in Parkinson’s disease research because it can detect the disease in its early stages and study the underlying biology of the condition. It could also pave the way for more successful clinical trials of new therapies.
The SYNTap test is an invasive and painful procedure that researchers are exploring other biological samples as alternatives. Further research is needed to improve the test’s accuracy and validate its findings in larger clinical trials.
The new tests involve using biomarkers in blood, urine and other bodily fluids to identify the disease. The markers could diagnose Parkinson’s early before the symptoms become obvious. They would also help inform doctors about the best treatment for a particular patient.
Researchers are now actively pursuing ways to use these biomarkers in clinical practice. If successful, this could mean that people with Parkinson’s can get an accurate diagnosis much earlier than they currently do and start appropriate treatment as soon as possible. This could improve their prognosis significantly by allowing them to begin managing their condition sooner rather than later.
It is hoped that through continued research into these biomarkers, we will eventually better understand how to treat and manage Parkinson’s Disease more effectively and efficiently than ever before. Researchers and experts in Parkinson’s disease are optimistic about new tests that could revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of the condition.