Mayo clinic researchers explore new methods to detect Parkinson's disease in at-risk individuals

July 01, 1999

ROCHESTER, MINN.-- Mayo Clinic neurologists are using existing technology and an investigational drug to detect pre-symptomatic Parkinson's disease in at-risk people who have family members with Parkinson's disease. A study detailing the results of this new approach appears in the July issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The study makes use of a widely available brain imaging technique, single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), in combination with the investigational radiopharmaceutical beta CIT. The beta CIT drug binds to the specific nerve cells in the brain that decrease in number when a patient has Parkinson's disease. The SPECT camera is able to measure how much of the drug binds to the remaining nerve cells in the brain. Through these methods, Mayo Clinic researchers were able to differentiate between 10 Parkinson's disease patients and 10 control individuals. As expected, the amount of the drug that was detected for the Parkinsons disease patients was reduced.

The Mayo Clinic researchers also studied 10 relatives of Parkinson disease patients and found that the amount of the drug that bound to the nerve cells in their brain fell in a range between that of the Parkinson's disease patients and the controls.

"Our goal is to determine who is really at risk before people actually develop the symptoms of Parkinson's disease," says Demetrius M. Maraganore, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologist and the lead author of the study. "We know from a recent Mayo Clinic study that overall there is a three percent lifetime risk of developing Parkinson's disease. We also know that for persons having two or more relatives with Parkinson's disease, their lifetime risk is increased to nearly 30 percent. For the current U.S. population, an estimated 200,000 people have this risk factor. This high-risk group is likely larger when one considers other independent risk factors.

"The key for future research of Parkinson's disease is to find ways to discover who is most at risk and to develop therapies that can delay or prevent the onset of this disease," says Dr. Maraganore. "The results of our study are very encouraging, but clearly there needs to be continuing research and development in this area."
-end-


Mayo Clinic

Related Nerve Cells Articles from Brightsurf:

Nerve cells let others "listen in"
How many ''listeners'' a nerve cell has in the brain is strictly regulated.

Nerve cells with energy saving program
Thanks to a metabolic adjustment, the cells can remain functional despite damage to the mitochondria.

Why developing nerve cells can take a wrong turn
Loss of ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme leads to impediment in growth of nerve cells / Link found between cellular machineries of protein degradation and regulation of the epigenetic landscape in human embryonic stem cells

Unique fingerprint: What makes nerve cells unmistakable?
Protein variations that result from the process of alternative splicing control the identity and function of nerve cells in the brain.

Ragweed compounds could protect nerve cells from Alzheimer's
As spring arrives in the northern hemisphere, many people are cursing ragweed, a primary culprit in seasonal allergies.

Fooling nerve cells into acting normal
In a new study, scientists at the University of Missouri have discovered that a neuron's own electrical signal, or voltage, can indicate whether the neuron is functioning normally.

How nerve cells control misfolded proteins
Researchers have identified a protein complex that marks misfolded proteins, stops them from interacting with other proteins in the cell and directs them towards disposal.

The development of brain stem cells into new nerve cells and why this can lead to cancer
Stem cells are true Jacks-of-all-trades of our bodies, as they can turn into the many different cell types of all organs.

Research confirms nerve cells made from skin cells are a valid lab model for studying disease
Researchers from the Salk Institute, along with collaborators at Stanford University and Baylor College of Medicine, have shown that cells from mice that have been induced to grow into nerve cells using a previously published method have molecular signatures matching neurons that developed naturally in the brain.

Bees can count with just four nerve cells in their brains
Bees can solve seemingly clever counting tasks with very small numbers of nerve cells in their brains, according to researchers at Queen Mary University of London.

Read More: Nerve Cells News and Nerve Cells Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.