Currently, there is no single test that can be used to confirm a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease (PD) or a biomarker that can track its progression. People with PD have many abnormalities in the autonomic nervous system (controls involuntary function), which may be related to Parkinson's changes outside of the brain. A new device called the SudoScan, which measures changes in sweat, may be a simple way to test for autonomic changes in Parkinson's.
We plan to test whether SudoScan can identify PD and whether SudoScan abnormalities might be present even in early (prodromal) Parkinson's stages.
We will assess SudoScan in a group of people with PD, healthy controls, people with non-Parkinson's neurodegeneration and people with REM sleep behavior disorder (an early/prodromal Parkinson's state). Abnormalities will be correlated with standard autonomic tests and with skin biopsy findings of Parkinson's degeneration in the peripheral autonomic fibers.
Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson's Disease:
If we can find a reliable way to diagnose and follow PD, we will be able to correctly identify Parkinson's even in its earliest stages. This will improve the chance to find protective treatments against PD by preventing false diagnosis and by providing a new marker to track disease progression.
Next Steps for Development:
If successful, we will validate these findings with a large group of individuals with Parkinson's and track changes over time in our original group of participants.