Scientists at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology have discovered a new method to observe changes in the retina that can be seen in Parkinson before changes in the brain occur and the first symptoms of the incurable disease become apparent.
using instruments commonly used in eye clinics and optometrists, scientists have used the imaging technique to observe these changes at an early stage.
scientists have said that the method will allow earlier diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.
They said it could also be used to monitor how patients respond to treatment.
The technique has already been tested in humans for glaucoma and trials are about to begin for Alzheimer’s.
Professor Francesca Cordeiro, a professor UCL glaucoma and retinal neurodegeneration Studies said: “This is potentially a breakthrough in early diagnosis and treatment of one of the most debilitating diseases in the world
. ” These tests means that we might be able to intervene much earlier and more effectively treat people with this devastating disease “manner.
Parkinson’s disease affects 1 in 500 people and is the second neurodegenerative disease more common throughout the world.
symptoms usually appear until more than 70 percent of the dopamine-producing cells in the brain have been destroyed.
This condition causes muscle rigidity, slowness of movement , tremors and reduced quality of life.
professor Cordeiro and his team treated the mice with a version new formulation of the anti-diabetes drug Avandia, which helps protect nerve cells.
After using this drug, the scientist found clear evidence of reduced retinal cell death, as well as a protective effect on the brain suggesting that it may have potential as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease.
“These findings have the potential to limit and perhaps eliminate the suffering of thousands of patients, if we are able to diagnose early and treat with this new formulation,” said author Dr. Edward Norman, ophthalmologist hospital consultant Western Eyes and UCL.
“The evidence we have strongly suggests that we are able to intervene much earlier and more effectively in the treatment of people with this devastating disease, the use of this technique of non-invasive and affordable image,” said Dr . Normando.
The technology is being patented by the company marketing research professional UCL UCL
Dr. Arthur Roach, director of research at Parkinson’s UK, He said:. “At present there is no brain scan or blood test that can definitively diagnose Parkinson. – Leaving an urgent need for a simple and accurate way to detect the disease, especially in its early stages
” although research is in its infancy and has not yet been tested in people with Parkinson’s, one of simple tests noninvasively as an eye examination – it could be an important step forward in the search for treatments that can address the underlying causes of the disease rather than mask its symptoms
“. this research complements a study funded by Parkinson’s UK is already underway, which aims to identify biomarkers of Parkinson, which are measurable changes in people with condition.
“have a biomarker for Parkinson could help diagnose Parkinson’s before, when people are more likely to benefit from new treatments to slow the progression.”
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