Posted: May 16, 2012 8:41 AM by NBC News
A routine colonoscopy could be used to predict a person's risk of Parkinson's disease.
Researchers at Rush University analyzed samples of colon tissue taken from patients several years before they showed any symptoms of the neurodegenerative disorder.
All of the samples contained a protein that is present in the brain cells of patients with Parkinson's disease.
This protein was not detected in healthy patients.
Experts said colonoscopy, or the less invasive flexible sigmoidoscopy, could someday be key in diagnosing and slowing the progression of Parkinson's before symptoms begin.