University of Florida researchers have identified a biomarker that shows the progression of Parkinson’s disease in the brain, opening the door to better diagnosis and treatment of the degenerative disease.

By comparing brain images of Parkinson’s patients to those of a control group over a year, an interdisciplinary team found that an area of the brain called the substania nigra changes as the disease advances. The findings provide the first MRI-based method to measure the disease’s progression, which can inform treatment decisions and aid in identifying new therapies, said UF applied physiology and kinesiology professor David Vaillancourt, Ph., one of the study’s authors.

This article originally appeared on Psychiatry Advisor

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