While Florey researchers have also created a genetic test for PD (10% of PD cases are caused by genetic factors), this new test has a broader by screening for many different types of PD and monitoring treatment, as well as measuring the effectiveness of drugs being developed to treat the disease. Dr. Qiao-Xin Li and colleagues from The University of Melbourne and The Mental Health Research Institute of Victoria, along with Prof Malcolm Horne from the Howard Florey Institute, found people with PD had low levels of the brain-secreted protein ‘alpha-syncline’ in their blood, people without PD had high levels of the protein. Prof Horne said the test they developed measured alpha-syncline levels in blood. “Currently there is no specific PD diagnostic test so doctors rely on their observations to make a diagnosis, which means some patients may not be prescribed the most suitable medication and around 15% of those may actually be suffering from something else,” Prof Horne said. Further studies are required to establish whether this test can between people who are responsive to treatment and those who are not,” he said. The researchers are now conducting a large-scale study to determine the of the test, to discover whether it is applicable for all types of PD, and to find out if it can measure the rate of progression and severity of the disease.
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