Zurich - Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have identified new biomarkers that could be used to diagnose Parkinson’s disease at an early stage. Initially, further tests are to be carried out, but the researchers are optimistic about the prospects of this approach.

A research group led by Professor Paola Picotti from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) has discovered a highly promising method for the early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. The researchers have identified a total of 76 proteins in the cerebrospinal fluid that appear in different shapes and structures in healthy individuals versus those suffering from Parkinson’s. They could therefore serve as potential biomarkers in order to diagnose the disease.

At present, Parkinson’s disease can only be diagnosed when the first symptoms become apparent, further details of which can be found in a press release issued by ETH Zurich. Up to now, there have been no biomarkers that indicate the presence of this neurodegenerative disease. If the method devised by the researchers proves to be successful, it would represent a huge leap forward in efforts to diagnose the disease at an early stage.

In total, 50 healthy test subjects and 50 Parkinson’s patients have been enrolled in the current study. The research group now intends to carry out further studies and refine the analysis. Natalie de Souza, a researcher working on this project, appears confident that the efficacy of biomarker-based method will bear out. Based on the research up to now, the biomarkers offer “a very strong indicator for the disease”, she explains in the press release. 

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