The skin is the largest organ on the human body and we need to protect it and care for it. As we age, we are prone to more skin problems. Skin becomes less supple, thinner, and drier. Cuts and bruises can take longer to heal. Skin can become irritated and itchy.
On the horizon is the newest research using skin to test for Alzheimer’s disease. It is still in the early stages, but it holds promise of a fairly easy way to detect if an individual has Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. At this time, the detection of Alzheimer’s comes only with a brain biopsy, as do many other forms of memory impairments, and the diseases can go unrecognized until it has progressed.
For the study, scientists took biopsies from 20 people with Alzheimer’s, 16 people with Parkinson’s and 17 with dementia and compared it with the biopsies of 12 healthy people. The results showed that those in the Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s groups had seven times higher levels of protein called “tau” which is very common in those with Alzheimer’s disease. They also found a raised level of the protein alpha-synuclein common in Parkinson’s disease.
These were both promising results because early diagnosis is a key to preventing the loss of brain tissue. Researchers are excited about the findings because potentially, skin biopsies from living patients could be used to learn more not only about Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s but also other neurodegenerative maladies.
Skin! Touch it, love it, protect it, and hydrate it to keep it as healthy as possible!