Parkinson’s disease affects more than 10 million people worldwide, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation and currently there is no cure.
Since the diagnostic method now used is very subjective, researchers are looking for an easier and more rigorous scientific test. An added bonus is for the test to be noninvasive.
Researchers at the University of Oregon have recently studied the possibility that the EEG (Electroencephalograph) could be the solution.
The EEG is an electro-physiological monitoring system to record electrical activity of the brain. It is noninvasive, with the electrodes placed along the scalp. The EEG records electrical activity produced by the brain via the small attached sensors.
EEG: Diagnosing Parkinson’s Brain Waves
According to researchers, the raw, unfiltered brain waves of Parkinson’s patients are unique.
EEG readings were taken from 15 Parkinson’s patients and 16 healthy individuals.
“The raw signals go up and down like sine waves but with more asymmetry,” explains Dr.Nicole Swann, the principal investigator of the new study. Indeed, The slant of the brain wave in a Parkinson’s patient is a key feature. Specifically, the brain waves in Parkinson’s show a sharper peak at the top of their brain wave, compared with the bottom.
Furthermore, this finding that a noninvasive method such as EEG can diagnose Parkinson’s could be a promising diagnostic tool. Indeed, it could provide easily obtained brain measurements that would be helpful in finding a cure. Drugs could be empirically tested for their affect in normalizing the brains electrical waves. In addition, it can be correlated with clinical observations and other EEG measurements.