Sarah Hamm-Alvarez, PhD: Could Tears Hold a Parkinson Biomarker?
MAY 01, 2019
Cecilia Pessoa Gingerich
One of the challenges neurologists face in treating patients with Parkinson disease is that early diagnosis is difficult. By the time most patients are able to be diagnosed, there is already permanent neurological damage.
This led a team of ophthalmologists and neurologists at the Keck School of Medicine of USC to begin research to identify a biomarker in tears to allow for earlier identification of Parkinson disease.
Sarah Hamm-Alvarez, PhD, Professor of Ophthalmology at the USC Roski Eye Institute at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, spoke with MD Magazine® about this biomarker research, which she presented at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) in Vancouver, BC.
“A few years ago, we became interested in the possibility that the lacrimal gland, which secretes tears and tear proteins, might be responsive to some of the same neural pathways that are affected in early Parkinson's disease,” Hamm-Alvarez told MD Mag.