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Skin Tests can detect some Neurodegenerative Disorders

Certain chronic neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s Disease, have been linked to the presence of an abnormal form of a protein called alpha-synuclein. Approximately 2.5 million patients in the US suffer from synucleinopathies. Synucleinopathies are progressive neurodegenerative diseases, each with different prognoses.  Many often take years to diagnose as the initial signs are subtle and confirmatory tests are expensive and sometimes invasive. Symptoms can include tremor and cognitive changes. Clinicians often don’t feel the need to burden patients with the diagnosis as traditional therapies help with symptoms but not progression.

This is about to change. Over the last several years, there have been novel head imaging tests measuring alpha-synuclein which are largely restricted for use as research tools.  What is new is that there is a simple skin test which detects abnormal alpha-synuclein (P-SYN) in cutaneous nerve fibers with 95.5% accuracy.

This is a gamechanger for patients with synucleinopathies (Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple System Atrophy, and Pure Autonomic Failure). Not only will it allow diagnoses to be made more easily, but it will also hasten the development of better treatment, and, ultimately, a cure.

Currently, this skin test (called Syn-One) in not yet FDA approved as a diagnostic test for PD but it is available and billable through Medicare.

If you believe you may be experiencing tremor, walking changes, cognitive changes or changes in your posture, BeCare Neuro can help screen you for the earliest signs of Parkinson’s Disease and help you decide when to seek clinical evaluation by a neurologist.  You may even suggest you have a skin biopsy to your doctor.

The findings were published online on March 20 in JAMA.

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