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Sebum and Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease, a type of neurodegenerative disorder, has been a popular subject of current research. Looking further into Parkinson’s disease could allow for quicker, more efficient diagnoses in patients presenting with conditions typical of the disease. Typical symptoms associated with the disorder include slower movement, stiffer muscles, and tremors. However, scientists are aiming to consider means of identifying the disease beyond such symptoms. Some researchers recently discovered that such a disorder could be more easily treatable through utilization of something one may not expect- sebum.

Sebum is defined as oily matter that is given off by the sebaceous glands. The possibility of utilizing sebum as a type of diagnostic tool intrigued researchers. Utilizing this newfound knowledge along with the fact that the secretion of sebum is typical among patients presenting with Parkinson’s disease, researchers launched a study investigating the correlation of sebum content with the disorder. Subjects’ backs were swabbed, allowing for sebum collection. Following swabbing, the samples were delivered to an external lab, where mass spectrometry and ion mobility separation were performed. Such procedures allowed for analyses of certain metabolites and other compounds that were typically found in individuals with Parkinson’s disease.

Such research presents great potential not only because of its efficacy in identification of Parkinson’s disease but also because of its ease in utilization within clinical settings. The researchers conducting this study noted that the following step in the more wide-scale implementation of this test was clinical application. Ease of accessibility and affordability should also be considered further in making a test with such excellent potential a more widespread option.

Thank you so much for reading!

- Aprile Bertomo

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