There’s some new information available about Parkinson’s disease, and researchers are really excited about it.
Earlier this month, researchers found that visual system changes in recently diagnosed Parkinson’s patients can bring forward important information regarding early detection and monitoring of the disease.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative brain disorder. In Parkinson’s patients, their brain stops making dopamine, a neurotransmitter. As a result, this patient becomes more and more stripped of their ability to control their movements, emotions, and body.
Often times, symptoms take a while to develop and patients can live with Parkinson’s for years before realizing. Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention label complications from Parkinson’s disease as the 14th top cause of death in the United States.
Since detection is sometimes difficult, this new breakthrough relating visual system changes to Parkinson’s detection and monitoring is super exciting.
“Just as the eye is a window into the body, the visual system is a window into brain disorders,”
said lead researcher Alessandro Arrigo, M.D.
Parkinson’s is generally considered to show motor disorder in patients, but there are also a few non-motor symptoms common in patients as well that are seen across every stage of the disease. Often times, these go unlinked to Parkinson’s, leading to some patients being under-treated.
Many of these non-motor symptoms are visual related.
In fact, Dr. Arrigo claims,
“These non-motor Parkinson’s symptoms may precede the appearance of motor signs by more than a decade.”
Researchers have found high levels of correlation among Parkinson’s patients and abnormalities within their visual system brain structure.
This means that some visual symptoms can provide biomarkers to track progress or regression in Parkinson’s disease and to monitor patient response to drug treatment.
With this new information available, researchers and doctors are looking forward to further advancement of treatment in Parkinson’s patients. Though this new information is still relatively new, doctors and researchers can branch off of it in many different avenues.
To read more about the visual system and how its related to Parkinson’s disease, click here!
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