A new way to diagnose a “sly” incurable neurodegenerative disease, that of Parkinson’s, aspires to open up a new American scientific research.
The researchers, led by Dr. Michael Liu, of the University of Southern California Medical School, who made the announcement at the annual conference of the American Academy of Neurology in Los Angeles, compared tears of 55 patients with Parkinson’s the tears of 27 healthy people of the same age and sex.
It has been found that in the tears of Parkinson patients the alpha-synuclein protein, the “trademark” of brain disease, is up to five times higher in patients than in healthy ones.
“Our research is the first to show that tears can be a reliable, cheap and non-invasive biomarker for Parkinson’s disease,” Liu said.
Tears contain various proteins produced by secretory cells of the lacrimal gland, which is stimulated by the nerves to secrete these proteins. Because the disease can affect nerve function in general, in addition to nerve brain cells, any change in the nerves can also cause changes in the levels of tear proteins, which is “evidence” of Parkinson’s.
“Something as simple as tears can help neurologists distinguish people with Parkinson’s. And because the disease process can begin years or even decades before the symptoms occur, a biological marker like this will be useful for early diagnosis or even for treating the disease, “Liu added.
However, this method is in its first … steps, and before that more research will have to be done to more people.