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

It takes a special type of person to become a nurse. The job requires a combination of energy, empathy, clear mind, oftentimes a strong stomach, and a cheerful attitude. And while people typically think of nursing in a clinical setting, some nurses are driven to work with the people that feel forgotten by society.

Keep Reading Show less

Prior to baby formula, breastfeeding was the norm, but that doesn't mean it always worked.

As if the past handful of years weren't challenging enough, the U.S. is currently dealing with a baby formula crisis.

Due to a perfect storm of supply chain issues, product recalls, labor shortages and inflation, manufacturers are struggling to keep up with formula demand and retailers are rationing supplies. As a result, families that rely on formula are scrambling to ensure that their babies get the food they need.

Naturally, people are weighing in on the crisis, with some throwing out simplistic advice like, "Why don't you just do what people did before baby formula was invented and just breastfeed?"

That might seem logical, unless you understand how breastfeeding works and know a bit about infant mortality throughout human history.

Keep Reading Show less

Courtesy of Elaine Ahn

True

The energy in a hospital can sometimes feel overwhelming, whether you’re experiencing it as a patient, visitor or employee. However, there are a few one-of-a-kind individuals like Elaine Ahn, an operating room registered nurse in Diamond Bar, California, who thrive under this type of constant pressure.

Keep Reading Show less
via Pexels

Your cat knows you better than you think.

Cats are often seen as being aloof or standoffish, even with their owners. Of course, that differs based on who that cat lives with and their lifetime of experience with humans. But when compared to man’s best friend, cats usually seem less interested in those around them, regardless of species.

However, a new study out of Japan has found that cats may be paying more attention to their fellow felines and human friends than most people thought. In fact, they could be listening to human conversations.

"What we discovered is astonishing," Saho Takagi, a research fellow specializing in animal science at Azabu University in Kanagawa Prefecture, told The Asahi Shimbun. "I want people to know the truth. Felines do not appear to listen to people's conversations, but as a matter of fact, they do."

How do we know they’re listening? Because the study shows that household cats often know the names of their human and feline friends.

Keep Reading Show less

Yuri has a very important message for his co-workers.

While every person with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is different, there are some common communication traits that everyone should understand. Many with ASD process language literally and have a hard time understanding body language, social cues, exaggeration and cultural cues.

This can lead to misunderstandings that result in people with ASD appearing to be rude when it wasn't their intent. If more neurotypical people (those without ASD) better understood these communication differences, it’d be much easier for everyone to get along.

A perfect example of this problem and how to fix it was shared by Yuri, a transmasc person who goes by he/they, who posts on TikTok about having ADHD and ASD. In a post that has more than 2.3 million views, Yuri claims he was “booked for a disciplinary meeting for being a bad communicator.”

Keep Reading Show less