Parkinson’s disease: A technological breakthrough – earlier diagnosis may now be possible


According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) around 130,000 people live with Parkinson’s in the UK. Although there is no cure for Parkinson’s, scientists have been trying to develop new ways to diagnose it early. Researchers have recently developed a new type of ultra-strong MRI allowing them to spot early signs of the disease. The results from the research could positively impact patient care.

The new technology allows doctors to see a crucial part of the brain known as the locus coeruleus.

This part of the brain produces most of the body’s supply of the hormone noradrenaline.

Researchers say this hormone plays a “critical role in brain functions including attention and arousal, thinking and motivation”.

Improved MRI scanning capabilities will enable doctors to see whether it has been damaged by Parkinson’s.

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Professor James Rowe of the University of Cambridge said the locus coeruleus was “a devil to see on a normal scanner”.

Professor Rowe added: “Even good hospital scanners just can’t see it very well.”

Parkinson’s disease, much like other neurodegenerative diseases, affects motor skills.

These can appear as the early signs of the condition.


The APDA adds: “In much the same way that dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system cause non-motor symptoms in Parkinson’s such as blood pressure dysregulation and urinary abnormalities, autonomic dysfunction of the nerves that control the oil glands of the face can cause seborrheic dermatitis.”

Furthermore, a recent study has found this form of dermatitis is also associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s.

The NHS describes dermatitis as “a type of eczema triggered by contact with a particular substance”.

Eczema is an umbrella of conditions where the skin becomes dry and irritated.



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