Each year, the 11th April marks World Parkinson’s Day, which aims to raise awareness and promote a deeper understanding of this neurological condition and how it affects those who suffer from it.
Parkinson’s disease is caused by dopamine-generating brain cells dying, which in turn affects motor function. The early stages of the disease are generally characterized by movement related symptoms such as shaking, difficulty walking and rigidity. Later, mental and behavioral symptoms become apparent, with depression the most common psychiatric symptom and dementia often occurring in the advanced stages of the disease.
The World Health Organization estimates that Parkinson’s Disease cases will more than double by 2030, but there is hope on the horizon. Scientists from the Swedish pharmaceutical company BioArctic Neuroscience, in collaboration with Uppsala University and other Swedish universities and the Karolinska Institutet, have recently developed a biomarker assay (analytic procedure) for the disease. Biomarkers are increasingly used in medicine to determine both normal and pathological functioning; they can also help with prognostics. The research could lead to earlier diagnoses and quicker, more effective treatments.References