It could take several hours or even days to detect Parkinson’s disease using traditional methods, which could delay the treatment and lead to poor prognosis. To help diagnose the condition quickly, Dr. Debashis Chanda and his colleagues developed the first-ever rapid dopamine detector.
Dopamine is a brain chemical that plays an important role in neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s and mental health issues such as depression.
It could be a cumbersome process to monitor a person’s dopamine level, which includes complicated MRI testing. Parkinson’s is one of the difficult diseases to monitor and diagnose.
Dr. Chanda, who is also a professor at the University of Central Florida, said, “Dopamine measurement plays an important role for people suffering from Parkinson’s.”
In people with Parkinson’s and depression, there is too little dopamine.
“The traditional methods are very hard for people because we have to send it to laboratories and they have to look at cultures and stuff like that and that takes a lot of time,” said a Biomedical Sciences student at UCF.
Dr. Chanda and his team developed a dopamine detector that requires only a few drops of blood, providing results within seconds. The detector is known to use a chip that splits plasma from the blood.The researcher explained that the plasma is then flown through sodium oxide nano-structure surface to which dopamine binds and gets captured.
The researchers then measured the concentration of dopamine in the body using infrared light. Also, this method could be useful in determining whether a medicine is effective.
Dr. Chanda explained that this is just the first-ever step to give people the ability to check their brain activity, stating, “Like the way you detect or monitor your blood sugar or blood glucose level.”
Dr. Chanda and his colleagues have also been using the same technology to detect viruses, such as dengue virus.