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February 27, 2015

Skin test could detect Alzheimer's, Parkinson's early

A simple swab of the skin could be the key to early detection of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, new research says.

The Huffington Post reported that University of San Luis Potosi researchers said that since skin and brain cells have the same origin, certain biomarkers could be detected in skin samples - long before symptoms occur.

In the study, researchers compared tissue samples 53 people who were diagnosed with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or dementia with 12 healthy people. They found that Alzheimer's patients had seven times more tau protein, which create "tangles" in the brain.

Those with Parkinson's had eight times more alpha-synuclein — a protein that some studies say is correlated with risk for the disease.

While there is no cure for Alzheimer's or Parkinson's, symptoms can more easily be managed if caught early.

Researchers say the study could improve future research in fighting the diseases.

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