August 6, 2008

Test for Parkinson’s Being Developed

A minimally invasive technology is being developed to diagnose Parkinson's disease, U.S. and Canadian researchers said.

In the study, researchers Molecular Biometrics, LLC used spectroscopy to develop a metabolic profile -- or chemical signatures -- of biological markers for Parkinson's disease. There is currently no definitive laboratory diagnostic for Parkinson's disease.

"The lack of an objective biomarker to aid diagnosis and therapeutics development is one of the single greatest challenges facing the Parkinson's research field," Katie Hood of The Michael J. Fox Foundation Parkinson's Research said in a statement.

In the study, 52 patients, 20 with mild or moderate stages of Parkinson's disease and 32 age-matched control subjects had whole blood samples analyzed using near-infrared spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy methods.

The data from this study, published Biomarkers in Medicine, showed that the two independent biospectroscopy measurement techniques yielded similar and consistent results. In differentiating Parkinson's disease patients from the control group, Raman spectroscopy achieved a sensitivity of 74 percent and specificity of 72 percent, with eight false positives and four false negatives.

Near-infrared spectroscopy achieved a sensitivity of 74 percent and specificity of 76 percent, with four false positives and five false negatives.