By the time a patient experiences its first symptoms, treatment options against the progression of Parkinson’s are already limited. But a new system developed by the University of Haifa finds that with Parkinson’s, the writing is on the wall. The researchers say that the disease can be detected much earlier than is currently possible, by analyzing a person’s handwriting.
The University and nearby Rambam Hospital in Haifa, Israel compared the writing process of 40 sick and healthy subjects and now suggests their method as “an innovative and noninvasive method of diagnosing Parkinson’s at a fairly early stage,” they write.
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Today Parkinson’s disease is determined by the diagnostic ability of the physician, who can generally identify the clinical symptoms only when the disease is at a relatively advanced stage.
They use a physical evaluation or a test called SPECT, which uses radioactive material to image the brain. The latter, however, is no more effective in diagnosing the illness than an expert doctor and it exposes the patient to unnecessary radiation exposure.
Studies from recent years show that there are unique and distinctive differences between the handwriting of patients with Parkinson’s disease and that of healthy people. However, most studies that were conducted to date have focused on handwriting related to motor skills, such as the drawing of spirals, and not on writing that involves cognitive abilities, such as signing a check.
The writing is on the wall