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Funded Studies

The Effect of Psychological Stress on the Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease

Study Rationale:
Many people with Parkinson's disease (PD) experience chronic stress and associated disorders, such as depression, anxiety or both. Furthermore, many people with PD notice worsening of their motor symptoms during stress. In fact, stress might be a very important contributor to disability in Parkinson's, and it is potentially amenable to treatment.

We aim to: (1) test the association between stress and motor and non-motor symptoms of PD, (2) evaluate the association between dispositional mindfulness -- the ability to be mindful in everyday life -- and perceived stress, and (3) evaluate experience with and/or interest in stress-reducing interventions such as meditation or mindfulness training in people with PD.

Study Design:
In this study we will analyze data of people from the Fox Insight cohort (approximately 1,000 people with Parkinson's and 500 healthy people) at a given point in time. We will ask study participants to complete a questionnaire to assess stress levels, quality of life, personality traits associated with dispositional mindfulness, and the severity of motor and non-motor symptoms. Furthermore, we will also include questions focusing on participant's experience with stress-reducing therapies.

Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson's Disease:
Stress is potentially an important modulator of motor and non-motor PD symptoms and could be amendable to treatment.

Next Steps for Development:
If this study demonstrates a significant relationship between stress, personality traits associated with dispositional mindfulness and disease symptoms, we will use these findings to design a future study aimed at reducing stress levels in people with Parkinson's through a mindfulness intervention.


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