A PARKINSON’S disease sufferer has praised city research which it is hoped will lead to earlier diagnosis of the disease.

Sally Bromley, 65, said she is very excited about the Oxford University study.

It suggests MRI scans can study connectivity in the brain to accurately diagnose those with the condition in about eight in 10 cases.

Researchers hope the work will see the disease diagnosed at a much earlier stage and this will aid research into its causes and help treat sufferers earlier on.

Mrs Bromley, a retired teacher who lives in Summertown, Oxford, was diagnosed, like other sufferers, through answering questions and mental and physical tasks like moving around.

She said: “I am so excited about it, I can’t believe it.

“Diagnosis is done on a clinical basis with various physical tests and that won’t change until something like this comes through.”

She was diagnosed in 2008, aged 59, after suffering a tremor in her right arm several times a day.

She said: “I started to notice it increasing when I was anxious or worried.”

After a visit to her GP, the Victoria Road grandmother-of-four, pictured right, was told she had Parkinson’s.

She said: “I was devastated, absolutely devastated, because you think ‘this is life, it is not going to get better’.

“Then you have to think ‘I am going to embrace this and take it on board’.”

The former Frideswide Middle School teacher, married to Jonathan, 60, said the condition has got “marginally more pronounced”.

The John Radcliffe Hospital study used a method of MRI scanning which takes detailed pictures of parts of the brain known to be affected by Parkinson’s.

It correctly identified all 19 Parkinson’s sufferers, including county people, but wrongly said two of the 19 non-sufferers had the disease. It also concluded that 11 of 13 had the early stages of Parkinson’s and researchers concluded the test is 85 per cent accurate.

Those at increased risk are now being tested under the programme, funded with £5m from charity Parkinson’s UK.

Senior research fellow Dr Clare Mackay said: “We are excited that this MRI technique might prove to be a good marker for the earliest signs of Parkinson’s. The results are very promising.”

To volunteer to take part in studies visit http://opdc.medsci.ox.ac.uk/get-involved or call 01865 234892.

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