New cost effective and non-invasive method found in early detection of Parkinson disease

Emobileclinic Researchers Corner


Researchers at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology have discovered a cost effective and non -invasive eye test method useful in the early detection of Parkinson’s disease prior to the appearance of tremors and muscle stiffness which are symptoms of Parkinson disease and also monitor the response of patients to the treatments.

This finding was published in the Acta Neuropathologica Communications Journal.
Using ophthalmic instruments routinely used in optometrists and eye clinics, the researchers were able to use the new imaging technique to observe the retinal changes at an early stage. Previously, the technique had been tested in humans for glaucoma, there are attempts to try in human for Alzheimer disease.
According to Francesca Cordeiro, a Professor of Glaucoma and Retinal Nuerodegeration, the feat is potential revolutionary breakthrough in the early diagnosis and treatment of one of the world’s most debilitating diseases, he stressed further that these tests mean that early and effective intervention is treating people with this devastating condition.

Parkinson’s disease is a leading common neurodegenerative disease globally. The primary symptom becomes apparent as soon as 2/3 of the brain’s dopamine-producing cells have been destroyed which do result in muscle stiffness, retarded movement, tremors and a reduced quality of life.

Stemming from the observation of retinal changes in the experimental model, the team treated the animals with a newly formulated version of the anti-diabetic drug Rosiglitazone, which helps to protect nerve cells. After using this drug, there was clear evidence of reduced retina cell death as well as a protective effect on the brain which suggests that it could have potential as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease.
In his contribution, Dr Eduardo Normando, said that those discoveries have the potential to limit and perhaps eliminate the suffering of thousands of patients if they are able to diagnose early and to treat with this new formulation.

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He added that the evidence before them strongly suggests that they might be able to intervene much earlier and more effectively in treating people with this devastating condition, using this non-invasive and affordable imaging technique. The technique is under the patency of UCL’s research commercialization company.



Normando, E. M (2016): The retina as an early biomarker of neurodegeneration in a rotenone-induced model of Parkinson’s disease: evidence for a neuroprotective effect of rosiglitazone in the eye and brain. Acta Neuropathologica Communications Journal published 18 August 2016.

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