The first major study results from the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) are highlighted in today’s edition of USA Today. The study, which was published in the journal JAMA Neurology, studied the cerebrospinal fluid of people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) as compared with control volunteers, and found subtle, yet important differences.
Reporter Karen Weintraub explains the results:
The study measured four proteins in the spinal fluid that are believed to gum up the brains of Parkinson's patients: alpha-synuclein and two types of tau, which can all clog the inside of the neurons, and beta-amyloid, which collects on the outside of cells…
Those with the lowest levels of amyloid beta and tau were most likely to have a particularly challenging form of the disease — the first time different courses of the disease have been identifiable in the patients' biology.
PPMI’s goal is to find Parkinson’s biomarkers in order to better understand the onset and progression of the disease. Currently, no such biomarker exists.
But these study results could mark the first big steps in the right direction, says Weintraub.