Daily Health Headlines

Skin Test for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's Shows Early Promise

👤by Robert Preidt 0 comments 🕔Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

TUESDAY, Feb. 24, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A small, early study hints that a skin test may someday be able to help diagnose people with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Researchers found that skin biopsies can reveal elevated levels of abnormal proteins associated with the two disorders.

The study is being released ahead of its presentation in April at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) in Washington, D.C.

As it stands now, a definite diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease in a living person has not been possible, so the illness is often "unrecognized until after the disease has progressed," Dr. Ildefonso Rodriguez-Leyva, of the Central Hospital at the University of San Luis Potosi in Mexico, explained in an academy news release.

"We hypothesized that since skin has the same origin as brain tissue while in the embryo, that they might also show the same abnormal proteins," he said. "This new test offers a potential biomarker that may allow doctors to identify and diagnose these diseases earlier on."

The researchers took skin biopsies from 20 Alzheimer's disease patients, 16 Parkinson's disease patients, 17 patients with non-Alzheimer's dementia, and 12 healthy people.

Compared to healthy people and those with non-Alzheimer's dementia, the Alzheimer's and Parkinson's patients had seven times higher levels of a protein called tau. The researchers also found that Parkinson's patients had eight times higher levels of a protein called alpha-synuclein, compared with healthy people.

"More research is needed to confirm these results, but the findings are exciting because we could potentially begin to use skin biopsies from living patients to study and learn more about these diseases," Rodriguez-Leyva said. "This also means tissue will be much more readily available for scientists to study."

"This procedure could be used to study not only Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, but also other neurodegenerative diseases," he theorized.

Two experts said such a test would be welcome, but it's too early to confirm the usefulness of this skin-based method. Experts also note that studies presented at medical meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

"Similar claims [for diagnostic tests] have been made for a decade or more, but none have held up to scrutiny or independent replication," said Dr. Samuel Gandy, associate director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Mount Sinai, in New York City.

He said he would "reserve judgment to see whether any totally independent group can reproduce the results."

Dr. Marc Gordon is chief of neurology at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y. He agreed that the test might be a real breakthrough, but only "if these findings can be independently replicated."

According to the AAN, about 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease and 1 million have Parkinson's disease.

-- Robert Preidt

Article Credits / Source

Robert Preidt / HealthDay

Robert Preidt wrote this story for HealthDay. HealthDay provides up to the minute breaking health news. Click here to view this full article from HealthDay.

SOURCES: Marc Gordon, M.D., chief, neurology, Zucker Hillside Hospital, Glen Oaks, N.Y.; Samuel Gandy, M.D., Ph.D., associate director, Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Mount Sinai, New York City; American Academy of Neurology, news release, Feb. 24, 2015

View More Articles From Robert Preidt 🌎View Article Website

Sponsored Product

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

People who have trouble sleeping typically have low levels of melatonin, so melatonin supplements seem like a logical fix for insomnia. There is a high demand for sleep aids, especially in the U.S. The National Health Interview Survey done in 2002, and again in 2007, found 1.6 million US adults were using complementary and alternative sleep aids for insomnia. Lunar Sleep was a top choice. Use Promo Code: Sleep2014 and only pay $1.95 S&H.

Get Lunar Sleep for $1.95

More Alzheimer's Disease Articles

Fewer Americans Suffering From Dementia, Study Finds

Fewer Americans Suffering From Dementia, Study Finds0

MONDAY, Nov. 21, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Here's some good news for America's seniors: Dementia rates have dropped dramatically over the last decade or so, according to a new study. An analysis of responses from a study of more than 10,000 ...

Can Occupational Therapy Slow Alzheimer's Decline?

Can Occupational Therapy Slow Alzheimer's Decline?0

MONDAY, Nov. 21, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Home-based occupational therapy may not slow down the physical decline that comes with Alzheimer's disease, a new clinical trial suggests. The study looked at whether home visits from occupational ...

Poor Sense of Smell May Signal Alzheimer's Risk

Poor Sense of Smell May Signal Alzheimer's Risk0

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 16, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A person's sense of smell may help predict their risk for Alzheimer's disease, a new study suggests. The researchers included 183 older people, and 10 had possible or probable Alzheimer's disease, ...

Some Elderly With Alzheimer's Brain Plaques Stay Sharp

Some Elderly With Alzheimer's Brain Plaques Stay Sharp0

MONDAY, Nov. 14, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- In a discovery that challenges conventional thinking, researchers report that several people over the age of 90 had excellent memory even though their brains showed signs that they had Alzheimer's ...

Brain Scans May Improve Dementia Diagnosis, Treatment

Brain Scans May Improve Dementia Diagnosis, Treatment0

TUESDAY, Nov. 8, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Tens of millions of people worldwide suffer from memory loss and mental impairment due to dementia. While there's no cure, medication may temporarily improve some symptoms. Proper treatment, however, depends ...

View More Alzheimer's Disease Articles

0 Comments

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Mailing List

Subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest health news as it breaks!

Your information will not be shared with anyone!