The study, funded by Parkinson’s UK, is seeking 10,000 volunteers aged over 60 who do not have a diagnosis of the disease, which is caused by a loss of nerve cells in the brain.
An online test to assess brain function will involve patients tapping keys on a computer keyboard.
There will also be a smell test with 40 scratch and sniff aromas – from pizza to melon.
The cause of Parkinson’s is unknown but scientists believe some of the earliest areas affected are involved with the sense of smell, the gut and parts of the brain involved in sleep.
Parkinson’s affects one in 100 over-60s in the UK and scientists hope the Predict-PD project, launched tomorrow, will deliver a set of performance markers that could be used by GPs, who currently have no definitive diagnostic tools.
At least one in 10 people are misdiagnosed and many suffer distressing delays before their condition is confirmed.
Neurologist Dr Alastair Noyce of Queen Mary University of London, who is leading the research along with Professor Anette Schrag of University College London, said: “We believe we can pick up people at least two years, if not five years, ahead of when they’d normally be diagnosed.”
Published at Sun, 28 Oct 2018 14:36:00 +0000