Oct. 4, 2022 -- A new three-minute test for Parkinson’s disease eventually could help doctors manage the disorder, for which there is no known cure. Until now, there hasn’t even been a test to determine whether someone has it.

Currently, doctors diagnose the condition, which is chronic and progressive, by looking at symptoms, medical history, and other information. Symptoms of the disease, which affects a small area of neurons that help coordinate smooth muscle movement, include tremors, rigidity, slow movement, and changes in walking.

Now, research published in the Journal of the American Chemical SocietyAusays scientists have developed a quick method to identify people with Parkinson’s. It can take as little as three minutes after a skin swab is analyzed for changes in the chemical mix of sebum, a natural waxy oil produced by the skin.

One of the researchers involved, neurologist Monty Silverdale of the U.K.’s University of Manchester, said in Science Alert, "This test has the potential to massively improve the diagnosis and management of people with Parkinson's disease," said 

The test is non-invasive and fast, “though the scientists still need to show that they can scale up the procedure and get it working outside of laboratory conditions,” Science Alert wrote.

"We are tremendously excited by these results which take us closer to making a diagnostic test for Parkinson's disease that could be used in clinic," said chemist Perdita Barran, also of the University of Manchester.

Show Sources

Science Alert: “New Discovery Means Parkinson's Could Be Diagnosed With a Swab in Just 3 Minutes”


Journal of the American Chemical Society: “Paper Spray Ionization Ion Mobility Mass Spectrometry of Sebum Classifies Biomarker Classes for the Diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease”

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