During our Third Thursdays Webinar tomorrow, weíll reflect on the research advances of the past year and examine what we can anticipate in 2015. Perfect timing, it seems, to review the primary concerns of those living with Parkinsonís disease (PD).
Top 10 Problems in Parkinsonís
Katherine Deane, MD, and colleagues at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom polled members of the PD community to determine the main issues for those living with Parkinsonís. It hardly needs to be said that the overwhelming desire is for an effective disease-modifying therapy.
Related to Parkinsonís management, the study ó published in BMJ Open ó identified the top 10 matters that people with PD feel are inadequately addressed: †
- Reducing imbalance and falls
- Lessening stress and anxiety
- Treating dyskinesia
- Identifying different types of Parkinsonís and targeting treatments more specifically†
- Treating dementia
- Managing mild cognitive problems
- Monitoring treatment response
- Enhancing sleep quality
- Improving dexterity
- Decreasing urinary dysfunction
Research Is Addressing These Issues
The good news is that active investigation into most of these topics, some of which has been funded by The Michael J. Fox Foundation, is underway.
For the treatment of gait instability and falls, trials of a repurposed medication ó donepezil, which is currently used for dementia ó and improved deep brain stimulation systems are ongoing. †
Depression in Parkinsonís, commonly associated with stress and anxiety, was shown to be effectively treated with two common antidepressants in the SAD-PD study.
Dyskinesia research is a priority for MJFF. Weíve funded studies looking for novel drugs to treat dyskinesia and backed trials looking for improved delivery of levodopa to avoid such motor fluctuations.
Although we still donít have a clear understanding of the different types of Parkinsonís manifested by different motor symptoms, gut bacteria may begin to provide some clues.
Treating cognitive problems is another important research area for MJFF. A medication targeting a certain brain chemical ó serotonin Ė is in testing for dementia associated with Parkinsonís, and multiple studies analyzing how and why memory problems occur are taking place.
The concerns and priorities of people with Parkinsonís direct our ongoing research efforts. We are all in agreement that a cure is of utmost importance. Until that is found, though, better symptomatic therapies are needed to improve the quality of life of those with Parkinsonís. You can help ó be proactive, stay vocal and get engaged with your community and with clinical trials.