In previous MJFF-funded research, these researchers identified four promising microRNAs (which regulate gene expression) associated with cognitive status. They profiled the miRNAs in serum from patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or PD with dementia (PDD) and from cognitively normal subjects. The same miRNAs were differentially expressed between PDD and AD patients when compared to PD and control subjects. They will continue this research with additional patient samples in order validate their findings.
They will continue to examine small RNAs in a larger number of samples to validate their findings.
Relevance to Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease:
The ability to identify patients at risk for cognitive impairment, before symptomatic decline, would allow researchers and clinicians to specifically target patients for new therapies. In addition, learning which patients are at risk for cognitive deficits could help researchers discover the underlying biological or environmental causes.
The investigators hope that these data can be used to identify patients at risk for cognitive impairment. Once patient populations can be defined and categorized, new strategic therapeutics can be developed and tested.