Scientists just made a fascinating discovery that could help fight off Parkinson's.

Researchers in Australia believe they've discovered something that could be a flying leap forward in the battle against Parkinson's disease:

Photo by Jens Maus/Wikimedia Commons.


The breakthrough? A way to detect the disease using a simple blood test.

Photo by PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay.

If they're right, this would be a big bleeping deal.

According to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, currently there is no uniform method of testing for the condition. Prospective patients are observed by a neurologist for symptoms that indicate brain cell loss has already begun.

A blood test, like the one developed by the La Trobe University team, could detect the disease before symptoms show up, allowing patients to start treatment before they suffer too much irreversible damage.

How does the test work?

Photo by JPC24M/Flickr.

Science.

No, seriously. How does it work?

The research team discovered that Parkinson's causes cell mitochondria — which the faint, half-remembered voice of your ninth-grade biology teacher is currently reminding you is the "power plant of the cell" — to become hyperactive.

The test scans for byproducts of the abnormally behaving mitochondria.

As always, there's still lots more work to do.

Speaking to The Guardian, lead researcher Paul Fisher said his team didn't have the financial resources to study whether the hyperactive mitochondria detected by the test are entirely specific to Parkinson's or also occur in others with similar neurological conditions.

They've also run only one trial to date.

But it's the kind of discovery that provides a lot of hope to a lot of people.

Actor Michael J. Fox's foundation provided funding for the research that led to the discovery of the test. Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images.

In addition to the estimated 500,000 to 1 million people with Parkinson's in the U.S. (about 60,000 new Parkinson's patients are diagnosed annually) and the 7 million to 10 million with it worldwide, there are also millions more people whose family history puts them at a greater risk to develop it.

Early detection might be the key to helping them live longer, healthier lives.

Actor and longtime anti-Parkinson's advocate Michael J. Fox's foundation provided funding for the research, once again proving that when you give money to science, science gives you back something awesome.

No flying cars yet.

GIF from "Back to the Future"/Universal.

But I'll take showing a debilitating disease who's boss any day of the week.

True

Davina Agudelo was born in Miami, Florida, but she grew up in Medellín, Colombia.

"I am so grateful for my upbringing in Colombia, surrounded by mountains and mango trees, and for my Colombian family," Agudelo says. "Colombia is the place where I learned what's truly essential in life." It's also where she found her passion for the arts.

While she was growing up, Colombia was going through a violent drug war, and Agudelo turned to literature, theater, singing, and creative writing as a refuge. "Journaling became a sacred practice, where I could leave on the page my dreams & longings as well as my joy and sadness," she says. "During those years, poetry came to me naturally. My grandfather was a poet and though I never met him, maybe there is a little bit of his love for poetry within me."

In 1998, when she left her home and everyone she loved and moved to California, the arts continued to be her solace and comfort. She got her bachelor's degree in theater arts before getting certified in journalism at UCLA. It was there she realized the need to create a media platform that highlighted the positive contributions of LatinX in the US.

"I know the power that storytelling and writing our own stories have and how creative writing can aid us in our own transformation."

In 2012, she started Alegría Magazine and it was a great success. Later, she refurbished a van into a mobile bookstore to celebrate Latin American and LatinX indie authors and poets, while also encouraging children's reading and writing in low-income communities across Southern California.

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via Pixabay

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Census Bureau figures say that almost a quarter of men and nearly 46% of women over the age of 75 live alone.

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