A new test to diagnose motor neurone disease could be available next year thanks to research being conducted at the Flinders Medical Centre, in Adelaide’s south.
There is currently no known cure for the debilitating condition and the average life expectancy after diagnosis is between two and three years.
Researcher Mary-Louise Rogers says her team has identified a protein that is released by damaged nerve cells and is found in urine and blood.
Dr Rogers says currently it can take years to identify motor neurone disease and early diagnosis will enable more effective treatment.
“We’ve been able to detect this protein in people with motor neurone disease and this will hopefully help in those people for example who have a known cause in the family, have a known genetic risk in the family,” she said.
“If we could actually get them earlier then it actually may be more effective, because what often happens is they get it [diagnosed] when it’s a little bit too late to have a big effect.
“So if they were getting it [diagnosed] earlier who knows they may actually live a bit longer.”