Researchers may have a new way to detect Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s using a simple skin test. A new study conducted by researchers at Central Hospital at the University of San Luis Potosi in Mexico suggests the skin test can detect abnormal levels of tau protein before symptoms of the degenerative disease develops. This study is important because there is currently no way to identify these diseases until symptoms develop. The test may provide a biomarker that doctors can use to identify the diseases before they progress.
According to the researchers, the skin has the same origin as tissue in the brain and it may show the molecular health of the brain. Previous research read by Boca Raton elderly care professionals has found that people with Parkinson’s have skin with similar tau protein deposits that occur in the brain.
To test their hypothesis, the team took skin biopsies from 65 volunteers. 12 of the volunteers were healthy, 20 had Alzheimer’s, 16 had Parkinson’s, and 17 had dementia. After comparing the samples to the healthy individuals in the same age group, the team discovered that people with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s had tau protein levels that were seven times higher than healthy people. Seniors with Parkinson’s also had alpha-synuclein protein levels in their skin that were eight times higher than healthy people. Alpha-synuclein protein build-up is a hallmark of Parkinson’s, just as high tau protein levels are a classic symptom of Alzheimer’s.
There is no single test to identify or diagnosis Alzheimer’s, although this research may change that in the future. Because this study was done on a fairly small scale, more research will be necessary to confirm the findings. It does give hope that a minimally invasive and accurate test will soon be available to diagnose Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s before symptoms develop so patients can receive early intervention.
If your aging parent or loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s and could use additional support to remain healthy, happy, and safe in the comfort of home, reach out to Home Care Assistance at (561) 826.9282. Our comprehensive Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s care in Boca Raton is available 24/7, our dedicated Care Managers can adjust your loved one’s care schedule as needed, and our services are backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Reach out today.