Parkinson’s, what are the symptoms and causes: the new blood test arrives for early diagnosis

By: VirgilioNotizie | Posted on:

A blood test could help identify the disease Parkinson’s early. To say this are the results of a research conducted byUniversity of Bari, together withNational Institute of Nuclear Physics and to Pia Panic Foundation, published in the magazine ‘Genes’. The importance of the discovery could represent a revolution, because so far the certain diagnosis of Parkinson’s has only happened post mortemanalyzing the condition of the deceased patient, or at the appearance of the early symptoms that may be compatible with the disease.

But what are the alarm bells, what to do if you suspect you are in the presence of the disease e how can you cure it? To these questions he answered, to the microphones of Virgilio News, Gennaro Barbato, neurologist of the Sanitary District 33 of the Asl Napoli.

What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease: how to recognize the disease

“Two elements allow us to identify Parkinson’s disease – explains Barbato -. The first is clinical and is represented by the existence of a combination of several motor symptoms: theakinesiathat is, a term ‘suitcase’ designating a set of movement abnormalities, in particular a rarefaction, a slowness and a decrease in the amplitude of gestures. When it affects the face it involves the typical facial amimia (that is inability to have difficulty changing expression, ed). Other symptoms include increased muscle endurance, also called rigid hypertonia, and tremormore often present in a condition of rest of the limb “.

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What is the difference between Parkinson’s Disease and ‘Parkinson’s Syndrome’

“The set of motor symptoms described is defined as Parkinsonian syndromebut does not indicate the Parkinson’s disease. To differentiate the two conditions is the fact that the first has several causes. To be sure that it is Parkinson’s disease it is necessary to verify another element, the anatomical one: the decrease in number and particular appearance of neurons of certain brain regions. These anomalies are not visible in normal image exams, even if recently the use of MRI of the brain 3tesla allows to have more detailed information. It is therefore necessary to arrive atpost mortem examination for diagnostic certainty ”, underlines the expert.

How Parkinson’s patients are treated

“It must be said that Parkinson’s disease is due to a dopamine deficiencya substance that cannot be administered directly by mouth because it encounters a massive degradation process such as to cause only a very small quantity to arrive at brain level. This is why its immediate precursor, the levodopawhich is then transformed in the body into dopamine – explains the neurologist “.

And again: “In the therapy, substances are then used that allow to indirectly increase the quantity of dopamine, without increasing the daily dose of levodopa, in the brain and blood, with some specific inhibitors. Finally, there are substances that directly stimulate dopamine receptors, the so-called ‘dopamine agonists‘”.

What side effects are possible in the treatment

“Medicines are very useful, but some possible side effects of these substances, such as Punding for levodopa (it is repetitive, aimless, ritualistic behaviors) and the Impulse Control Disorder, for dopamine agonists ”explains the expert who emphasizes the importance of calibrating the therapy on individual patients. In some cases there are also some invasive methods, which can be taken into consideration, when there is a decrease in the efficacy of drugs: “When the disease is about to enter the phase of complications due to the prolonged use of levodopa, in patients younger you can resort to Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) and in those later in life to the intestinal infusion of levodopa (Duodopa). The latter can also be performed after DBS, when the latter loses its benefits ”explains Barbato.

How important are lifestyle, predisposition and nutrition

“A diet with antioxidants like carotenoids (vitamin A), lutein, vitamin C and vitamin E, is strongly linked to a reduced risk of Parkinson’s and can affect the progression of disease symptoms by making it slower. Furthermore, lutein and vitamin E are able to reduce the decline of cognitive functions through the reduction of oxidative stress and the prevention of nerve cell death. A healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean one, in which the consumption of more fish and food a plant based And less meatcan make a difference in terms of preventing brain shrinkage and the effects of aging, ”explains Barbato.

The benefits of physical activity in the “prevention” of Parkinson’s

“L’physical activity it is able to promote a plasticity of the nerve cells that are part of those circuits affected in Parkinson’s disease (about Parkinson’s, here an article on the alleged links with Covid). More specifically, physical activity would be able to remodel and re-establish new contacts between nerve cells and increase cerebral blood flow – continues the expert -. Physical activity ranges from aerobic activity to sports practice. The first would be able to bring about a large increase in cerebral blood flow, especially at the level of the nerve centers involved in the disease, but also to activate a control of oxidative stress and of neuroinflammation. On the other hand, sports practice that requires perception and attention improves executive functions and the relearning “.

How common is Parkinson’s and in what age groups

“Parkinson’s disease is a frequent disease: it is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder and comes right after Alzheimer’s disease. It affects more than 20 in 100,000 individuals every year and this incidence rate increases with age. Usually it appears shortly after the age of 60, but in 10% of cases it occurs before the age of 50. Currently, in the 15 most populated countries in the world, which represent 2/3 of the world population, people with Parkinson’s disease are 4.1 – 4.6 million and will reach over 9 million in 2030. In China, an increase from 2 to 5 million is expected by 2030 and this is due to the large presence of the elderly in its population ”, explains the neurologist.

Parkinson’s and symptoms according to age

As you can guess from the data, the age factor is linked to the onset of the diseasebut also to its course: “The average age of survival fluctuates around 10-15 yearsbut there is a great variability linked to both demographic and disease-related factors. The quality of life is compromised for motor symptoms, but also for a set of non-motor symptoms of the disease, such as neuropsychiatric (depression, anxiety), visceral, fatigue, pain, sleep disturbances, cognitive decline and dementia “, he concludes. the expert.


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