Researchers from University of San Luis Potosi in Mexico have found a possible skin test that may provide early clues of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The results were released ahead of its presentation at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology on April at in Washington, D.C.
According to Dr. Ildefonso Rodriguez-Leyva, of the Central Hospital at the University of San Luis Potosi in Mexico and author of the said study says that a definite diagnosis diseases like Alzheimer’s in a living patient is not possible. Because of this, the disease may remain unrecognized until the disease has progressed.
“We hypothesized that since skin has the same origin as brain tissue while in the embryo, that they might also show the same abnormal proteins,” he said. “This new test offers a potential biomarker that may allow doctors to identify and diagnose these diseases earlier on,” Dr. Rodriguez-Leyva further added.
For the study, the researchers took skin biopsies from 20 patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, 16 with Parkinson’s disease and 17 patients with dementia caused by other known conditions. The researchers then compared them to skin biopsies from 12 healthy people belonging to the same age group. The researchers were looking into whether the skin samples show certain types of altered proteins distinct among those suffering from the mentioned diseases to the healthy controls.
The researchers found out that compared to the healthy patients and those who suffered from dementia caused by other conditions, skin samples of patients who suffered from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s showed increased levels of the tau protein by as much as 7 times. Patients with Parkinson’s also showed 8 times higher levels of the alpha-synuclein protein as compared to the healthy control group.
Dr. Rodriguez-Leyva said, “More research is needed to confirm these results, but the findings are exciting because we could potentially begin to use skin biopsies from living patients to study and learn more about these diseases. This also means tissue will be much more readily available for scientists to study.”
“This procedure could be used to study not only Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, but also other neurodegenerative diseases,” he further added.
Source: American Academy of Neurology (AAN). (2015, February 24). Skin test may shed new light on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150224164909.htm