Changes in blood pressure, hematocrit and cholesterol levels – vital signs that are often collected on routine health tests – may help doctors detect early signs of Parkinson’s disease, according to a study led by scientists in Japan.
Researchers at Nagoya University analyzed data from several years from tests of 22 men and 23 patients with Parkinson’s disease whose test results were before the onset of motor symptoms. They compared the results to the test data of 60 men and 60 healthy women who underwent tests for at least four years.
The study findings showed that weight, body mass index, hematocrit, total cholesterol levels and low density and serum creatinine levels were lower in men in the process of developing Parkinson’s than in healthy men. Blood pressure and enzyme levels called aspartame amino transfer were higher, while values of other items were lower among Parkinson’s patients compared to females without Parkinson’s.
These results suggest that Parkinson’s disease develops decades before the onset of motor symptoms, said study author Masahisa Katsuno, MD, a professor at Ngoya University’s graduate school of medicine.
“If we can detect biological changes in patients’ bodies long before the onset of motor symptoms, we can start medical treatment at an early stage,” said Messiah.
The full results are published online at Scientific reports.
In related news, researchers at University College London have found that simple vision tests can predict which people with Parkinson’s disease will develop cognitive impairment and possible dementia 18 months later.
The team examined 77 patients with Parkinson’s disease and found that people with visual impairments to develop dementia are more likely to develop dementia. The study, published in Traffic disorders, Adds to the evidence that changes in vision precede the cognitive decline that occurs in many, but not all, people with Parkinson’s, the researchers wrote.
A second study by the same research team, published Tuesday b Media Biology, Found that structural and functional connections of brain regions are severed throughout the brain in people with Parkinson’s disease, especially in people with vision problems.
Together, the two studies show how loss and changes in brain wiring underlie the cognitive impairment experienced by many people with Parkinson’s disease.
“Visual tests may provide us with a window of opportunity to predict Parkinson’s dementia before it begins, which may help us find ways to stop the cognitive decline before it’s too late,” said lead author Anglique Zarkley, a research fellow at Alzheimer’s at UCL.