Blood test offers early detection of Parkinson’s disease

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Researchers at Lund University have identified a promising blood biomarker called DOPA decarboxylase (DCC) that can detect Parkinson’s disease and other conditions leading to dopamine deficiency in the brain.

This discovery holds the potential for early diagnosis, even years before the onset of symptoms. Unlike other brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, which do not exhibit elevated DCC levels, Parkinson’s and dopamine-related disorders show significant increases in this biomarker.

This groundbreaking advancement in diagnostics offers a cost-effective and non-invasive approach to identify individuals at risk, paving the way for more accurate and timely interventions.

The study’s findings have been published in the journal Nature Aging.

The Role of DCC in Detecting Dopamine-Related Disorders

The research team harnessed advanced techniques to simultaneously analyze thousands of proteins in small samples from 428 individuals.

Their primary objective was to identify biomarkers that could indicate damage to the dopamine system in the brain, a hallmark of Parkinson’s disease and related disorders.

What they found was a strong correlation between elevated DCC levels and the presence of a dopamine system disorder, regardless of the disease’s stage.

Notably, DCC levels were significantly higher in individuals with Parkinson’s disease, especially in blood samples.

Validation and Blood-Based Detection

The researchers verified their findings in an additional group of 152 individuals, reinforcing the reliability of the DCC biomarker.

Moreover, they extended their investigation to blood plasma samples from 174 individuals and observed a consistent elevation of DCC in cases involving damage to the dopamine system.

This development is particularly noteworthy as it offers a simpler and more cost-effective diagnostic method compared to PET camera examinations, which are currently reserved for specialized memory clinics.

The Significance of Early Detection

Neurodegenerative brain diseases often share similar symptoms, making accurate diagnosis challenging. Misdiagnosis can lead to inappropriate treatment and delays in essential interventions.

The discovery of the DCC biomarker offers hope for safer and more accurate diagnostics in the future.

By detecting damage to the dopamine system in the brain before symptoms manifest, healthcare professionals can identify at-risk individuals and initiate timely interventions.

This blood-based biomarker holds the potential to revolutionize the way brain diseases are diagnosed and treated.


The identification of the DCC blood biomarker represents a significant breakthrough in the early detection of Parkinson’s disease and dopamine-related disorders.

By offering a non-invasive and cost-effective diagnostic tool, this discovery has the potential to transform the field of neurodegenerative disease diagnostics.

The ability to identify at-risk individuals, even years before symptoms appear, opens the door to more effective and timely interventions.

As research in this area continues to advance, blood-based biomarkers like DCC may become a crucial component of future diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for neurological disorders.

If you care about Parkinson’s disease, please read studies about Vitamin E that may help prevent Parkinson’s disease, and Vitamin D could benefit people with Parkinson’s disease.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about new way to treat Parkinson’s disease, and results showing COVID-19 may be linked to Parkinson’s disease.

The research findings can be found in Nature Aging.

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