Skin Biopsies May Be Able To Diagnose Alzheimer’s And Parkinson’s

Given that there are no available drugs which would slow the progression of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, early diagnosis is of limited clinical benefit. A new study, presented at an Alzheimer’s conference recently, has shown that monoclonal antibodies may be able to slow the progression. Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is possible utilizing amyloid PET scans, which are expensive, and testing amyloid and tau in spinal fluid, which requires a spinal tap. No blood tests are yet reliable.

A new study used skin biopsy. Patients with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s had 7 times higher levels of tau, and those with Parkinson’s had 8 times higher level of alpha-synuclein than the control group.

If these results can be verified, the test would be helpful for clinical trials, diagnosing patients with atypical symptoms, and hopefully in the future to identify patients for neuroprotective drugs.

Jack Florin, MD

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