Skin Test May Shed New Light on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases

Today have been an interesting day so far for sciences News. Apparently, there is a Neurology conference coming in DC this April, the American Academy of Neurology 67th Annual meeting. And it seems they have some breaking news to announce in this conference.

What is interesting is this press release from the society citing a study currently presented in the meeting.

In this study, the authors have hypothesized that neurodegenerative diseases may have some phenotype outside the brain, especially involving protein misfiling or wasting accumulation like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. The authors hypothesized that if these proteins accumulate in the brain, why about the skin?

If you ever had Embryology 101, you know that from the single fertilized egg, you end up generating over 300+ different cell types with distinct structure and function. We also know that the nervous system and skin system share the same origin. After all, the nervous system derives from the neural crest, that derive from the ectoderm (thus the term of neurectoderm classically used to refer to these types of cells). Therefore, if you face a problem with the generation of toxic byproducts in the brain, you should see the same phenomenon happening in your skin cells.

Seems so, or at least for a very small number of patients (n=20), so you really have to take it with a big grain of salt, but it is fairly exciting. They observed an increased (7-8 fold increase) in tau protein, alpha-synuclein in skin biopsies from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases respectively compared to control groups.

Thats sounds very exciting and promising, as the current medical intervention is based on diagnosis of the disease with a confirmation only by post-mortem analysis. Maybe detecting AD or PD early on may help to tame or reduce the dramatic impact of the disease.

Link to the press release:

Skin Test May Shed New Light on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases.


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