There is an interesting movement currently evolving in the research community that advocates a merging the names of Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease, possibly under the latter’s better known umbrella, since they both seem to have misfolded alpha-synuclein proteins in the brain as a shared feature, and likely cause. This could be beneficial in broadening awareness that keeping a relatively uncommon, and even more uncommonly diagnosed condition like LBD.
A new article in The Lancet Neurology, “A biological classification of Parkinson’s disease: the SynNeurGe research diagnostic criteria” seems to be furthering this approach, using a new name for for classification, acknowledging the complexity and heterogeneity of the disease by use of a three-component system (SynNeurGe): presence or absence of pathological α-synuclein (Syn) in tissues or Cerebro Spinal Fluid; evidence of underlying neurodegeneration (N) defined by neuroimaging procedures; and documentation of pathogenic gene variants (Ge) that cause or strongly predispose to Parkinson’s disease.
“Although this is still for research purposes, this is a major shift in thinking,” says Ron Postuma, a clinician-scientist at McGill University and one of the study’s authors. “If you think of it, it’s quite unusual that we’ve had to wait until Parkinson’s patients have important symptoms before we could make a diagnosis. We don’t wait for someone to feel pain from cancer before we diagnose it. Instead, we detect and diagnose it, hopefully before someone is aware of any symptoms. This research classification is a critical step towards bringing our thinking about Parkinson’s into the 21st century.”
I expect more to gradually develop in this field, and it certainly seems prudent to be able to find ways to diagnose these conditions before their impacts are profound and undeniable.
Strength and courage to all.