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Saliva gland test for Parkinson's shows promise, study finds
Date:1/10/2013

PHOENIX Described as a "big step forward" for research and treatment of Parkinson's disease, new research from Mayo Clinic in Arizona and Banner Sun Health Research Institute suggests that testing a portion of a person's saliva gland may be a way to diagnose the disease. The study was released today and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in San Diego in March.

"There is currently no diagnostic test for Parkinson's disease," says study author Charles Adler, M.D., Ph.D., a neurologist with Mayo Clinic in Arizona. "We have previously shown in autopsies of Parkinson's patients that the abnormal proteins associated with Parkinson's are consistently found in the submandibular saliva glands, found under the lower jaw. This is the first study demonstrating the value of testing a portion of the saliva gland to diagnose a living person with Parkinson's disease. Making a diagnosis in living patients is a big step forward in our effort to understand and better treat patients."

The study involved 15 people with an average age of 68 who had Parkinson's disease for an average of 12 years, responded to Parkinson's medication and did not have known saliva gland disorders. Biopsies were taken of two different saliva glands: the submandibular gland and the minor saliva glands in the lower lip. The surgical team was led by Michael Hinni, M.D., and David Lott, M.D., at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, and the biopsied tissues were tested for evidence of the abnormal Parkinson's protein by study co-author Thomas Beach, M.D., with Banner Sun Health Research Institute.

"This procedure will provide a much more accurate diagnosis of Parkinson's disease than what is now available," Dr. Beach says. "One of the greatest potential impacts of this finding is on clinical trials, as at the present time some patients entered into Parkinson's clinical trials do not necessarily have Parkinson's disease and this is a big impediment to test
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Contact: Jim Mcveigh
mcveigh.jim@mayo.edu
480-301-4368
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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