Parkinson’s disease can be hard to diagnose in its early stages, and monitoring its progression is just as difficult. Current methods are mostly subjective, with physicians visually assessing patients during a variety of tasks. Having access to more objective tools may help doctors establish diagnoses fast, guide the type of therapies that are delivered to Parkinson’s patients, and regulate how much of a given therapy is administered.
Researchers at the University of Oregon have been studying the brain waves of people with Parkinson’s and those without, and they may have identified biomarkers that point to the current state of the disease.
It has been recently discovered that neural activity in the beta frequency range (13-30 Hz) becomes highly synchronized in Parkinson’s patients, in addition to beta waves having non-sinusoidal shapes. The researchers decided to assess whether looking for these characteristics on EEG readouts can help spot how a given patient is doing. What the researchers discovered is that they were able to distinguish between Parkinson’s patients that were receiving drug therapy from those that were taken off the meds.
The technology, which is non-invasive and may one day be available to patients themselves, may serve as an analogue to how diabetics check their glucose levels before deciding how much insulin to administer. This may be particularly useful when programming and controlling implantable neurostimulators that are quite effective for a great deal of Parkinson’s patients.
Study in journal eNeuro: Characteristics of Waveform Shape in Parkinson’s Disease Detected with Scalp Electroencephalography…