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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Skin tests can help diagnose Alzheimer's and Parkinson's

Someday, perhaps in a positive skin test can diagnose a person suspected of having dementia. The test, developed by researchers in Mexico, also can detect abnormal proteins that are specific to Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's.
A skin test could help identify Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/1I16aEV)
According to the group Alzheimer's Disease International, more than 44 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer's, which makes the elderly lose their short-term memory. In the end, this disorder leads to death.

This disease is the most common form of dementia. But there are other forms of progressive brain disease, such as vascular dementia, which resemble the symptoms of the early stages of Alzheimer's and cause maslaah-cognitive problems. Unlike Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia patients can live for years.

Other progressive neurological disease that is difficult to diagnose in the early stages disease is a movement disorder of Parkinson's. Currently, researchers at the University of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, has developed a way to diagnose Alzheimer's and other cognitive disorders, using a small piece of the patient's skin.

Investigators seek specialized proteins with high levels of unnatural and there in the brain tissue and there was also in skin cells. Ildefonso Rodriguez-Leyva, a neurologist who led the study using skin biopsy to diagnose people with various forms of dementia.
Skin biopsies from behind the ear showed telltale protein deposits. (Picture from: http://bbc.in/18m4gmk)
"The skin is closely connected with the nervous system because they have the same origin," said Rodriguez-Leyva. "Then we decided to look at the possibility of finding proteins that are not normal in the brain, in the skin. And we found it. Skin for our truly outstanding."

Twenty people were confirmed suffering from Alzheimer's appear to have abnormally high levels of a protein called tau in the 4 millimeters skin samples.

The study also included patients with Parkinson's, which also have high levels of tau and another protein called alpha-synuclein with a high level, compared with healthy people.

Currently, the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease based on clinical observation, because it may take samples of tissue from the living to confirm.

Maria Jimenez, a biochemist who developed the test. She said skin biopsies offer ways that are not invasive to diagnose early dementia. "Until now, these proteins were identified only in the brain," he said. "And the concept of our work is to find these proteins outside the brain in the skin."

Early diagnosis of Alzheimer's and Parkinson means treatment can begin early so improve the quality of life. Mexican researchers have plans to report their findings at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology next month. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | BBC]
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