Artificial intelligence could predict Parkinson’s 7 years earlier, according to a study

A blood test and the use of artificial intelligence could be used to predict the onset of Parkinson’s disease up to seven years before symptoms appear, according to a study published in Nature Communications.

A team from University College London and the University Medical Center in Goettinge (Germany) searched for new and better Parkinson’s biomarkers to develop them into a test that can be transferred to any large laboratory.

Using machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence, They analyzed eight blood biomarkers whose concentrations are altered in patients with the disease. and the system gave a diagnosis with 100% accuracy.

The next step was to see if the test could also predict a person’s likelihood of developing the disease.

Researchers analyzed the blood of 72 patients with rapid eye movement behavior disorder (iRBD), because of 75% to 80% of these people with this condition will develop synucleinopathy. (a type of brain disorder caused by the abnormal buildup of a protein called alpha-synuclein in brain cells), including Parkinson’s.

When the machine learning tool analyzed the blood of these patients, it identified that 79% of patients with iRBD had the same profile as someone with Parkinson’s.

The patients were followed for ten years and the team correctly predicted that 16 patients would develop the disease and did so up to seven years before the onset of any symptoms. Those predicted to develop Parkinson’s are still being followed to further verify the accuracy of the test.

By determining eight proteins in the blood, we can identify potential Parkinson’s patients several years in advance. This means that drug therapies could be administered at an earlier stage, possibly slowing down the progression of the disease or even preventing it from occurring,” said Michael Barlt from the University of Goettingen.

The markers used to diagnose the disease are directly related to processes such as inflammation and the degradation of non-functional proteins, so in addition “They represent possible warnings for new drug treatments”Barlt added.

The team hopes to secure funding to create a simpler test where a drop of blood can be placed on a card and sent to a lab to investigate whether it can predict the disease even earlier than seven years before the appearance of symptoms in this studio.

Researchers believe that early prediction and diagnosis would be valuable in finding treatments that could slow or stop the disease by protecting dopamine-producing brain cells.

What is Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s is the fastest growing neurodegenerative disorder in the world, currently affecting nearly 10 million people worldwide.

It is caused by death or nerve cell deterioration in the part of the brain that controls movement by losing the ability to produce dopamine due to the accumulation of a protein, alpha-synuclein.

Currently, patients are treated with dopamine replacement therapy when they have already developed symptoms such as tremors, slowness of movement and gait, and memory problems.

(With information from EFE)