tears can help diagnose people with Parkinson's disease
can be a reliable, inexpensive and noninvasive biological marker of
- A protein
called alpha-synuclein in the tears of people helps in diagnosing
with Parkinson's disease
Tears act as a biological marker in diagnosing
and treating Parkinson's disease (PD) early.
Tears contain various proteins that are
produced by the secretory cells of the tear gland, which are stimulated by
nerves to secrete these proteins into tears.
‘The decrease in the total levels of alpha-synuclein and increase in the levels of oligomeric alpha-synuclein in tears show that people have Parkinson's disease.’
For this reason, the research team investigated
tears because Parkinson's disease can affect nerve function outside of the
brain, said Mark Lew, MD, of the Keck School of Medicine of the University of
Southern California in Los Angeles, a Fellow of the American Academy of
Neurology and this study's author.
The preliminary study was presented at the
American Academy of Neurology's 70th Annual Meeting, Los Angeles.
Link Between Tears and
"We believe our research is the first to
show that tears may be a reliable, inexpensive and noninvasive biological
marker of Parkinson's disease
The research team hypothesized that any change
in nerve function could be easily seen in the protein levels of
In this study, tear samples from about 55
people who have PD were taken and
were compared with tear samples taken from about 27 people who did not have PD, but were of the same age
Later, tears were analyzed for the levels of four
. The results revealed that the levels of a particular protein, alpha-synuclein
in the tears of people with Parkinson's disease varied when compared to the
Also, the levels of another form of
alpha-synuclein called oligomeric alpha-synuclein,
which are implicated
in nerve damage in PD were also found
to vary when compared with the controls.
There is also a possibility that the secretory
cells could produce these different forms of alpha-synuclein by themselves, as
they can be secreted into tears directly.
Importance of Proteins in Tears
The findings show that the total levels of
alpha-synuclein were decreased in those who had PD, with an average of 423 picograms of that protein per milligram
(pg/mg) than those without PD who has an average of 704 pg/mg.
However, levels of oligomeric alpha-synuclein
were increased in individuals who had PD with an average of 1.45 nanograms per milligram of tear protein
(ng/mg) when compared to 0.27 ng/mg in those without Parkinson's.
A picogram is 1,000 times smaller than a
Lew also stated, "Knowing that something
as simple as tears could help neurologists differentiate between people who
have Parkinson's disease and those who don't in a noninvasive manner is
exciting. And because the Parkinson's disease process can begin years or
decades before symptoms appear, a biological marker like this could be useful
in diagnosing, or even treating, the disease earlier."
Further research is required to be conducted on
larger groups of people to check if these protein changes can be detected in
tears in the earliest stages of PD, i.e., even before the symptoms could start.
Facts About Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease (PD), a chronic and
progressive disease of the nervous system that causes a gradual loss of muscle
control. Parkinson's mostly affects people who are over 60 years.
approximately 7 to 10 million people suffer from Parkinson's
- Around 18
out of 1,000 people who are over 65 are affected with Parkinson's disease.
- About 1
to 2 out of every 1,000 people have Parkinson's disease.
- Men are
one and a half times more likely to have Parkinson's disease than women.
with an affected first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling have a
4 to 9 percent higher chance of developing Parkinson's disease.
There is no cure
disease. However, a combination of therapies like physiotherapy and speech
therapy can help control the symptoms and maintain the quality of life.
Parkinson's disease can be prevented by consuming
a well-balanced diet
. The diet should be rich in a variety of foods such as
vegetables and fruits, omega-3 fatty acids, tea, caffeine, and wine, as they
Vitamins C, D and E supplementation
can also help in slowing down the progress of
- What is Parkinsons - (http://www.parkinson.org/understanding-parkinsons/what-is-parkinsons)
- 10 Early Warnings Signs - (http://parkinson.org/understanding-parkinsons/10-early-warning-signs)
- Understanding Parkinsons - (http://parkinson.org/understanding-parkinsons)
- Parkinsons Disease - (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/parkinsons-disease/)