National Institutes of Health scientists develop new brain disease test for the early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies
The group, led by NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), tested 60 cerebral spinal fluid samples, including 12 from people with Parkinson’s disease, 17 from people with dementia with Lewy bodies, and 31 controls, including 16 of whom had Alzheimer’s disease.
The test correctly excluded all the 31 controls and diagnosed both Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies with 93 percent accuracy in just two days, compared to related tests that require up to 13 days.
Lewy body dementia affects an estimated 1.4 million people in the United States, according to the Lewy Body Dementia Association.
Early and accurate diagnoses of these brain disorders is vital for developing treatments and identifying patients eligible for clinical trials. The diseases typically progress for years before symptoms appear, and once they do, identifying one disease from another can be difficult.
Scientists from the University of California San Diego, University of Verona in Italy, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, and the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, collaborated on the project.
The group conducted the tests using Real-Time Quaking-Induced Conversion (RT-QuIC), an assessment developed and refined over the past decade at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories.