Diagnosis of Parkinsons, and lewy Body dementia

The Rocky Mountain Lab in Hamilton is helping with an international effort to create earlier diagnosis of Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies.
Scientists who are developing a rapid, practical test for the early diagnosis of prion diseases have modified the test to offer the possibility of improving early diagnosis of Parkinson’s and dementia with Lewy bodies. 
The group, led by the National Institutes of Health, tested 60 cerebral spinal fluid samples, including 12 from people with Parkinson’s disease, 17 from people with dementia with Lewy bodies, and 31 controls, including 16 of whom had Alzheimer’s disease. The test correctly excluded all the 31 controls and diagnosed both Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies with 93 percent accuracy.

All the testing of the samples and analysis of results was done at Rocky Mountain Lab in Hamilton by a lab group led by Dr. Byron Caughey.
Importantly, test results were available within two days, compared to others that require up to 13 days. Scientists from the University of California San Diego, University of Verona in Italy, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, and the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, collaborated on the project.
The research findings were published in Acta Neuropathologica Communications.

Multiple neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies, involve the abnormal clumping of a protein into brain deposits called Lewy bodies.
The pathological processes in these diseases resembles prion diseases in mammal brains. Like prion diseases, Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies result in progressive deterioration of brain functions and, ultimately, death.

Parkinson’s disease is about 1,000 times more common than prion diseases, affecting up to 1 million people in the United States, with 60,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Lewy body dementia affects an estimated 1.4 million people in the United States, according to the Lewy Body Dementia Association.
Early and accurate diagnoses of these brain disorders is essential for developing treatments and identifying patients eligible for clinical trials. The diseases typically progress for years before symptoms appear, and once they do, distinguishing one disease from another can be difficult.
The group continues to adapt the tests to detect additional types of neurological diseases with greater accuracy using the least invasive patient sample possible — whether that is blood, skin, nasal brushings, or other samples. The group also has trained many international colleagues to use and advance the test.


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