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An AI-assisted blood test may provide Parkinson's early detection

Researchers have developed an AI-powered blood test that could provide early diagnosis for Parkinson's disease long before symptoms appear, potentially revolutionizing early detection and treatment of this neurodegenerative condition.

Ellie Ramirez-Camara profile image
by Ellie Ramirez-Camara
An AI-assisted blood test may provide Parkinson's early detection
Photo by National Cancer Institute / Unsplash

By leveraging a machine learning algorithm to identify a signature pattern of eight blood proteins in Parkinson's disease patients' bloodstreams, researchers at UCL and the University of Göttingen could predict whether undiagnosed patients who provided a blood sample would develop the disorder. In one of the patients, the algorithm made a correct prediction over seven years before the symptoms started.

If the test's validity is confirmed, the blood test could become a tool for very early diagnosis. Currently, there are no preventative treatments or cures for Parkinson's disease, and the standard procedure for the 10 million Parkinson's patients worldwide has been to attempt to slow or stop the disease from progressing. An early diagnosis tool could enable healthcare providers to identify those patients that would benefit the most from clinical trials.

Regardless, experts are taking the news of the blood test with caution. For starters, Parkinson's is a complex syndrome with various presentations. Those are unlikely to be represented in the blood test results, leaving the question of predicting the exact development of the disease in individual patients unanswered. Additionally, ethical considerations surrounding early diagnosis without effective treatments must be addressed.

Despite these hurdles, this AI-powered blood test represents a major step forward in Parkinson's research, offering hope for earlier intervention and improved patient outcomes.

Ellie Ramirez-Camara profile image
by Ellie Ramirez-Camara
Updated

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