New research suggests that testing a portion of a person’s saliva gland may be a way to diagnose Parkinson's disease. The study was released today and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego, March 16 to 23, 2013. “There is currently no diagnostic test for Parkinson’s disease,” said study author Charles Adler, MD, PhD, with the Mayo Clinic Arizona and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. “We have previously shown in autopsies of Parkinson’s patients that the abnormal proteins associated with Parkinson’s are consistently found in the submandibular salivary glands, under the lower jaw, and this is the first study demonstrating the value of testing a portion of the saliva gland to diagnose a living person for Parkinson’s disease. Making a diagnosis in living patients is a big step forward in our effort to understand and better treat patients.”
The study involved 15 people with an average age of 68 who had Parkinson’s disease for an average of 12 years, responded to Parkinson’s medication and did not have known salivary gland disorders. Biopsies were taken of two different salivary glands: the gland under the lower jaw and the minor salivary glands in the lower lip. The biopsied tissues were stained and reviewed for evidence of the abnormal Parkinson’s protein.
This study was funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.
Learn more about Parkinson’s disease at http://www.aan.com/patients
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The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 25,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.comor find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.
Angela Babb, APR
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