The brain is seen in a colorful scan.

Researchers at UCLA Health have developed a blood test that can differentiate between Parkinson's disease and multiple system atrophy (MSA), two similar movement disorders. The test analyzes the contents of tiny sacs of chemicals called "exosomes" that are released by brain cells and found in the blood.

“This is a major breakthrough, because it allows us to analyze what’s going on in the brain using a blood test,” says Gal Bitan, professor of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

This test could provide a more accurate, less costly, and less invasive method of diagnosing these diseases compared to current methods, such as brain imaging procedures or sampling cerebrospinal fluid with a lumbar puncture.

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