Parkinson’s is not the same for every person, however, and these tests can leave many people, especially those in the early or prodromal stages, without an accurate diagnosis. Additionally, symptom severity can often change, making it difficult to accurately track these in the clinic. Therefore, finding tests that tell us what is actually occurring in the brain may help us begin to fill in these gaps.
This is especially important for clinical trials as we need to be able to identify the individuals best suited to take part and have the right tools to evaluate whether a treatment is working.
Adding precision to our clinical trials is vital. If we are able to involve the right people for the right trials through the inclusion of these tests, that would be a big step forward and will enable us to gain clearer answers evaluated on biology rather than clinical assessments.Helen Matthews, CEO, Cure Parkinson’s
What does this mean for people with Parkinson’s?
For now, these tests are only intended to be used in clinical trials. However, as these methods develop and improve, they may eventually become diagnostic tools too. Overall, what these tests and, more broadly, this global collaboration represent are efforts to move us closer to both achieving our goal of finding a cure and to improve the clinical experience and outcomes for people with Parkinson’s.
This initial framework is just the beginning. These two tests are a great start but there are lots of exciting advances happening in this field at the moment so we hope to see more sensitive (and patient friendly) tests added into the framework in the near future.Professor David Dexter, Director of Research, Parkinson’s UK
For more information on the proposed staging system, Gary Rafaloff and Katie Kopil discussed this in greater depth at September’s Rallying to the Challenge meeting:
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