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Blood Biomarker Could Mark Severe Cognitive Decline, Quicker Progression among Parkinson’s Patients
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. There is no biomarker to tell who is going to develop the disease – and who is going to develop cognitive impairment after developing Parkinson’s, says Michelle Mielke, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic researcher.
But, a genetic mutation, known as GBA, that leads to early onset of Parkinson’s disease and severe cognitive impairment (in about 4-7 percent of all patients with Parkinson's disease) also alters how specific lipids, ceramides and glucosylceramides, are metabolized. Mayo Clinic researchers have found that Parkinson’s patients who do not carry the genetic mutation also have higher levels of these lipids in the blood. Further, those who had Parkinson’s and high blood levels, were also more likely to have cognitive impairment and dementia. The research was recently published online in the journal PLOS ONE. The discovery could be an important biomarker for those with Parkinson’s disease.
To read the full news release click here. To hear more from Dr. Mielke play the video below.
Journalists: sound bites with Dr. Mielke are available in the downloads.