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May 27, 2019

Parkinson's may no longer be a matter of opinion

Brain wave measurements may be key in diagnosis

Illness Parkinson's Disease
10092018_brain_Flickr digitalbob8/via Flickr Creative Commons


When it comes to Parkinson's disease watching how a patient walks, talks and draws remain among the key activities neurologists use to make a diagnosis. 

In other words, the diagnosis remains largely subjective, but researchers are trying to change that. 

Researchers from the University of Oregon in Eugene and the University of California in San Diego are looking into the possibility that an electroencephalogram, or EEG, can provide a more accurate diagnosis. 

According to a newly published study in the medical journal eNeuro and reported in Medical News Today,  early efforts to use EEG to detect Parkinson's meet with disappointing results. 

But by focusing on the sharpness of brain waves, researchers were able to match readings to Parkinson's patients, providing a noninvasive way to identify those afflicted. According to the study, Parkinson's "patients off medication had greater sharpness asymmetry and steepness asymmetry than on medication (sign rank, p<0.02, corrected).

"We also showed that beta oscillations over sensorimotor cortex most often had a canonical shape, and that using this prototypical shape as an inclusion-criteria increased the effect size of our findings. Together our findings suggest that novel ways of measuring beta synchrony that incorporate waveform shape could improve detection of (Parkinson's Disease) pathophysiology in non-invasive recordings. Moreover, they motivate the consideration of waveform shape in future EEG studies."

The team used the EEG readings of 15 Parkinson's patients compared to 15 healthy individuals as the basis of their study. 

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