Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder affecting over 6 million globally, second only in prevalence to Alzheimer’s disease. There is currently no conclusive, pre-clinical diagnostic test for PD, diagnosis is usually made through observations by a physician of the decline in motor function. Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a common non-motor symptom reported in 60% of people with Parkinson’s. This condition presents as “oily skin” with an excess of sebum which is produced in the sebaceous glands in the first layer of the skin.
Studies of sebum are common in dermatology conditions such as acne however is rarely used in diagnostics. A recent study published in Nature found that the sebum from a simple swab from people with Parkinson’s reveals a difference in the composition of sebum compared to control subjects.
Parkinson’s disease affects many of our seniors and research like this may enable us to initiate interventions early in the disease process. Imagine, in a perfect world, a simple swab of skin cells would assist in preventing an early decline in people living with Parkinson’s disease! Now, all we need is a cure! Stay the course, stay well, mask up, roll up your sleeves and stay tuned!