Researchers from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland published in Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology that they have developed a test that identified people with Parkinson's by measuring the "stickiness" of the protein alpha-synuclein. The test also differentiated people with dementia with Lewy bodies (clumps of alpha-synuclein) compared to other types of dementia. The study was funded in part by The Michael J. Fox Foundation.
"In initial tests, the technique was able to identify 19 out of 20 samples accurately from patients with PD, as well as three samples from people considered to be at risk of the condition. There were no false positives among any of the 15 control samples from healthy people," wrote Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News. "The investigators agree that that the test needs to be validated with a larger sample group to verify their initial findings, but they are extremely optimistic that the new assay could one day help to improve diagnosis of the disease."