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Blood Test Could Predict Parkinson’s 7 Years before Symptoms – AI Test

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A simple blood test could predict Parkinson’s disease seven years before symptoms appear, marking a “major step forward” in diagnosis of the condition.

Blood Test Could Predict Parkinson’s 7 Years before Symptoms – AI Test

Researchers believe early prediction and diagnosis would help in finding treatments that could slow or stop Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that affects the nervous system and the parts of the body controlled by the nerves.

The test uses artificial intelligence (AI) to predict the disease, which is caused by the death of nerve cells in the part of the brain that controls movement.

When these nerve cells die or become impaired, they lose the ability to create a chemical called dopamine.

People with Parkinson’s are currently treated with dopamine replacement therapy after they have already developed symptoms, such as tremors or slowness of movement.

It is thought that early diagnosis and treatment would help protect the dopamine-producing brain cells.

Dr Michael Bartl, co-first-author of University Medical Centre Goettingen and Paracelsus-Elena-Klinik Kassel, alongside Dr Jenny Hallqvist, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, said: “By determining eight proteins in the blood, we can identify potential Parkinson’s patients several years in advance.

“This means that drug therapies could potentially be given at an earlier stage, which could possibly slow down disease progression or even prevent it from occurring.”

Professor David Dexter, director of research at Parkinson’s UK, said: “This research, co-funded by Parkinson’s UK, represents a major step forward in the search for a definitive and patient-friendly diagnostic test for Parkinson’s.

“Finding biological markers that can be identified and measured in the blood is much less invasive than a lumbar puncture, which is being used more and more in clinical research.”

The research found that when a branch of AI called machine learning analysed a panel of eight blood-based biomarkers whose concentrations are altered in patients with Parkinson’s, it could provide a diagnosis with 100% accuracy.

Professor Kevin Mills, senior author of UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, said: “As new therapies become available to treat Parkinson’s, we need to diagnose patients before they have developed the symptoms.

“We cannot regrow our brain cells and therefore we need to protect those that we have.

“At present we are shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted and we need to start experimental treatments before patients develop symptoms.”

He added that with sufficient funding, it is hoped the test will be used by the NHS within two years.

The experts suggest that with further research this test could potentially distinguish between Parkinson’s and other conditions that have some early similarities.

The team also looked at whether the test could predict the likelihood of someone going on to develop Parkinson’s.

Blood from 72 patients with Rapid Eye Movement Behaviour Disorder (iRBD) was analysed as it is known that about 75% to 80% of these people will go on to develop a synucleinopathy – a type of brain disorder caused by the abnormal build-up of a protein called alpha-synuclein in brain cells – including Parkinson’s.

The patients were followed up over 10 years and researchers say the AI predictions have so far been correct, with the team correctly predicting 16 patients would go on to develop Parkinson’s and being able to do this up to seven years before the onset of any symptoms.

According to Parkinson’s UK, around one in 37 people alive today in the UK will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s in their lifetime, and there are 153,000 people already living with the condition.

The researchers are hoping to secure funding to create a simpler test where a drop of blood can be spotted on a card and posted to the lab to investigate if it can predict Parkinson’s even earlier than the seven years before the onset of symptoms in this study.

The research, which was funded by an EU Horizon 2020 grant, Parkinson’s UK, the National Institute for Health and Care Research GOSH Biomedical Research Centre, and the Szeben-Peto Foundation, is published in Nature Communications.

 

 

 


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Nigerians Pay Some N87m in Bribes to Public, Private Officials In 2023

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At least N87 million bribes were paid to Nigerian public and private officials in 2023, according to data from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Nigerians Pay Some N87m in Bribes to Public, Private Officials In 2023

NBS data also indicated that of all Nigerian citizens who had at least one contact with a public official in the 12 months prior to the 2023 survey, 27 per cent paid a bribe to a public official.

According to the Bureau, Nigerians’ confidence in the government’s anti-corruption effort has been declining over time and across regions.

“While in 2019, more than half of all citizens thought that the government was effective in fighting corruption, in 2023, the share declined to less than a third of all citizens.

“The downward trend in the citizens’ confidence is observable across the entire country, with all six zones recording reductions of more than 10 percentage points between 2019 and 2023 in terms of the share of citizens who thought the government was effective in fighting corruption,” it stated.


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12 Professors, 15 Others Inducted into Shell Sabbatical, Research Positions

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The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) Joint Venture has significantly expanded its educational initiatives by inducting 27 Nigerian academics and research interns.

12 Professors, 15 Others Inducted into Shell Sabbatical, Research Positions

A cross section of participants in the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Joint Venture’s 2024 sabbatical and research programme in a group photograph with the leadership of SPDC’s Corporate Relations team at the induction ceremony held in Port Harcourt…recently.

This year’s programme, a 35% increase from the previous year, welcomed eight professors, four senior lecturers, and 15 other participants.

Held at the company’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, the induction ceremony marked the beginning of a one-year programme focused on knowledge exchange and skill development.

Drawn from 13 Nigerian universities, these participants will gain valuable industry experience in fields like biodiversity, petroleum engineering, and environmental impact assessment.

“The research and internship programmes are central to our commitment to supporting higher education in Nigeria,” explained Mr. Igo Weli, Shell Nigeria’s Head of Corporate Relations, and SPDC Director.

He described the programme as mutually beneficial nature by offering Shell access to specialised expertise from professors and lecturers, who in turn acquire practical industry knowledge and exposure to cutting-edge technologies.

Despite operational challenges, Mr. Weli reaffirmed Shell’s position as the industry leader in fostering a positive learning environment and empowering people.

Representing Mrs. Bunmi Edith Lawson, NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services, echoed Mr. Weli’s sentiments. She highlighted the programme’s significance in scientific exploration, environmental stewardship, and knowledge advancement.

“This is an investment in the next generation of innovators,” she stated, “and a way for us to give back to our stakeholders.”

The 2024 programme includes participants from a diverse range of universities across Nigeria, including the University of Benin, Rivers State University, University of Ibadan, Niger Delta University, and Ahmadu Bello University.

Others are Bingham University Karu, Federal University Wukari, University of Medical Sciences, Ondo State, Covenant University, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, University of Uyo, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, and Michael Okpara University of Agriculture.

 

 


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Ex Power Minister who Allegedly Stole N33Bn Gets N10Bn Bail

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Saleh Mamman, former minister of Power, who was charged for a N33 billion fraud by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been granted bail.

Ex Power Minister who Allegedly Stole N33Bn Gets N10Bn Bail

During a sitting on Friday, at the Federal High Court in Abuja, Mamman was granted N10 billion billion with two sureties in like sum.

Issuing the verdict, James Omotosho, chief judge, held that the sureties must be owners of landed properties within the Federal Capital Territory with a minimum valuation of N750 million.

The judge stated that the sureties must swear an affidavit of means and submit their three-year tax clearance certificates, adding that certified copies of the defendant and sureties’ bank statements and their most recent passport photograph must also be submitted.

In addition, the judge directed the defendant to turn in his international passport to the court’s registrar, stating that the registrar must confirm every document before the defendant is allowed to leave custody.

The court further ordered that the defendant be held in jail until all bail requirements were fulfilled and that the sureties could provide a bank guarantee or bond of N10 billion. The case has been adjourned until September 25, 2024.

On Thursday, July 11, the judge ordered the remand of the former minister at the Kuje Prison after his not-guilty plea to all the 12-count charges preferred against him. His lawyer, Femi Ate, a senior advocate, however, told the court that a bail application had been filed on behalf of his client.

Although the judge stated the bail application had not yet made it into the court file, the lawyer representing the EFCC, Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, also a senior advocate, admitted that the application had been received.

Meanwhile, the defendant had collapsed outside the courtroom before the hearing on Thursday but was revived with the help of his lawyers and some medical personnel at the court.

 


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