Advances in Parkinson’s research

Every day brings new of “breakthroughs” in biomedical research. Most of these are incremental advances, and many you never hear about again because they couldn’t be replicated, failed in early clinical trials, or some other problem.

But as described in this link from Wired, I think this could be real progress for Parkinson’s therapy research. While I’ve checked for all the known risk alleles in genes like SNCA, PINK1, LRRK2, PARK7, etc. in my genome sequence and I don’t have ’em, there are sporadic cases that aren’t associated with specific genetic risk.

It looks like there are now new tests–one involving cerebrospinal fluid and one scratch-and-sniff test–that predict Parkinson’s years before the pathological symptoms appear. This will impact drug discovery for early treatment and prevention, since pharma can now pre-screen for at-risk subjects at clinical trial enrollment.

Early detection of Parkinson’s