Parkinson's early warning signs discovered in brain
Scientists may have discovered the earliest warning signs of Parkinson's disease in the brain.
Changes to the serotonin system - which relays messages across the brain - appear to occur years before patients show any visible symptoms, a new study shows.
The findings could lead to new methods of identifying individuals at a high risk of developing Parkinson's disease, which causes involuntary shaking and slow movement.
This study is the first evidence of the important role that brain chemical serotonin plays, the researchers from King's College London said.
Lead investigator Professor Marios Politis said: "Parkinson's disease has traditionally been thought of as occurring due to damage in the dopamine system.
"But we show that changes to the serotonin system come first, occurring many years before patients begin to show symptoms."