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Detecting motor neurone disease

Scientists have identified a potential pattern within blood that signals the presence of motor neurone disease.

Currently, it can take up to a year for a patient to be diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as motor neurone disease (MND).

But after comparing blood samples from patients with ALS, those with other motor-related neurological diseases, and healthy patients, researchers were able to identify specific biomarkers that act as a diagnostic signature for the disease.

Researchers hope that their findings could lead to the development of a blood test that will identify the unique biomarker, significantly simplifying and speeding up diagnosis.

With patients living, on average, just two to five years after diagnosis, this time could be crucial.

Majid Hafezparast, a Professor of Molecular Neuroscience at the University of Sussex, said: “In order to effectively diagnose and treat ALS, we are in urgent need of biomarkers as a tool for early diagnosis and for monitoring the efficacy of therapeutic interventions in clinical trials.”  

academic.oup.com/braincomms
 

Picture Credit | Science Photo Library

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