HealthDay News — Measuring blood neurofilament light chain (NfL) levels may help distinguish Parkinson’s disease (PD) from atypical parkinsonian disorders (APD), according to a study published online February 8 in Neurology.

For the study, Oskar Hansson, MD, PhD, a researcher at Lund University in Sweden, and colleagues included 504 individuals from three independent prospective cohorts. Blood NfL levels were measured utilizing an ultrasensitive single molecule array method. 

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The team found strong correlations between blood and cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of NfL. Compared to patients with PD and healthy controls, blood NfL was increased in all APD groups. In one cohort, blood NfL was found to accurately distinguish PD from APD (area under the curve, 0.91), with similar results seen in the London and early disease cohorts (area under the curve, 0.85 and 0.81, respectively).

“Quantification of blood NfL concentration can be used to distinguish PD from APD,” the authors write. “Blood-based NfL might consequently be included in the diagnostic workup of patients with parkinsonian symptoms in both primary care and specialized clinics.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies, including UmanDiagnostics.

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