In a study published on August 30, 2023 in the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers at Duke University in North Carolina used polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology to detect mitochondrial DNA damage in blood cells typically associated with Parkinson’s disease.

The researchers reported that the test was able to detect the damage both in people with genetic mutation LRRK2, a known risk factor for Parkinson’s, and those who did not have the mutation.

In response to this study Dr. Okun was asked to comment in MedicalNewsToday, an online news outlet.

“A simple blood-based biomarker for diagnosis and for tracking of Parkinson’s disease would be a major advance, especially for low-income countries,” Dr. Michael S. Okun, a medical advisor for the Parkinson’s Foundation and the director of the Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases at University of Florida Health, told Medical News Today.

Okun said that the finding that the blood test could be used both to detect the disease and monitor treatment effectiveness was “very novel.”

However, he added that “this blood test has a long way to go and will need to be compared to other approaches, validated in larger studies and it will need to show it can differentiate samples from other Parkinsonian syndromes if it is to one day be used as a diagnostic test.”