Progress and Prospects in Parkinson's Research/Monitoring Parkinson's Disease
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This will be an overview of the topic of measuring the progression of Parkinson's, how it is attempted, the difficulties involved in improving the techniques and why it is important.
An accurate,reliable and universally acceptable method of measuring Parkinson's Disease has yet to emerge. Such a system is important as it will:-
- provide a basis for diagnosis;
- enable the detection of pre-symptomatic patients;
- allow the efficacy of prescribed therapies to be tested;
- facilitate the compilation of disease progression histories for individual patients;
- form a basis for testing new therapies;
- eliminate current cases of misdiagnosis.
Valeo  has reviewed the scope for finding PD biomarkers and identifies the following candidates:-
• Hyposmia testing (loss of smell)
• SPECT scans (to show dopamine reduction)
• Heart rate variability
• EKG reading of REM sleep disorder
• Breath tests for molecular markers
• Saliva tests of alpha synuclein levels
Haas et al  have carried out an overview of PD biomarker research.
The best outlook for premotor PD biomarkers relies heavily on the rapid and reliable identification of premotor biomarkers with independent validation of biochemical markers the clinical cohort most likely to develop PD.
- Valeo, Tom (2009) Full Text The Dana Foundation Seeking Biomarkers for Parkinson's Disease http://www.dana.org/news/features/detail.aspx?id=33640
- Haas, Bran R; Stewart, Tessandra H. and Zhang, Jing (2912) Full Text Translational Neurodegeneration 2012, 1:11Premotor biomarkers for Parkinson's disease - a promising direction of research Translational Neurodegeneration 2012, 1:11 http://www.translationalneurodegeneration.com/content/1/1/11