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Scientists at the Oxford Parkinson's Disease Centre (OPDC) have been able to use a highly-sensitive method called α-synuclein real-time quaking-induced conversion (αSyn-RT-QuIC) to observe the clumping of alpha-synuclein in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) taken from people with Parkinson’s. The findings offer hope that a pioneering new clinical test could be developed to diagnose Parkinson’s correctly in its early stages.

Pipette and test tubes

Alpha-synuclein is a protein known to form sticky clumps, known as Lewy bodies, in the brain cells of people with Parkinson’s and some types of dementia. These clumps are associated with the death of dopamine producing nerve cells which causes the motor symptoms associated with Parkinson’s, including freezing, tremors and slowness of movement along with the ‘hidden’ symptoms such as anxiety and memory problems.

Funded by the charity Parkinson’s UK, the study investigated whether the αSyn-RT-QuIC method could be used as an early diagnostic test or measure of progression for Parkinson’s. The study was carried out in people with Parkinson’s taking part in the Discovery study of the OPDC, which is collecting a wealth of data from a specific group of people over time to better understand Parkinson's. Previous studies have shown potential for this test as a way to identify people with the conditions.¹

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website

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