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Research Roundup: Parkinson’s Studies Recruiting for Everything from Smell Loss to Genetic Variants

Researching testing items in a lab

Join The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s mission to find better treatments and ultimately a cure. Whether you have Parkinson’s disease (PD) or not, participating in research is one way to contribute toward research for innovative treatments. The studies listed below investigate ways to slow disease progression, evaluate therapies and test interventions. Some follow participants over time to learn more about disease to provide better care. In this research roundup blog, we share MJFF-funded and partnering studies recruiting volunteers. 


  • Linking Smell Ability to Parkinson's Risk: MJFF's landmark, Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative study (PPMI), is actively recruiting volunteers with and without PD. PPMI is offering free and simple scratch-and-sniff tests to anyone aged 60 and older without PD in the U.S. and Canada. A reduced ability to smell can be an early sign of PD risk. Visit to request a smell test. 
    People recently diagnosed with PD can also play a critical role in PPMI. If you've been diagnosed in the past two years and are not yet taking PD medication, please call 877-525-PPMI or email to get started. Visit our website to learn more
    Anyone over age 18 in the U.S. can join the online part of PPMI

  • Managing Symptoms with Headphones-like Device: Parkinson’s researchers are working to find better ways to treat Parkinson’s, including through innovative technologies and approaches. A study is testing a wearable device that looks like headphones to see if it can improve Parkinson’s symptoms. The device delivers non-invasive stimulation patterns to the brain through the ears. Volunteers self-administer the treatment at home and visit a medical center for screenings over a three-month period. Wake Forest Health Sciences in Winston-Salem, North Carolina is recruiting 20 people between ages 21-85 with Parkinson’s. Learn more.  

  • Improving PD Care in the LGBTQIA+ Community: Little is known about the experiences of the LGBTQIA+ community living with PD. Researchers at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas are engaging with patients, caregivers and providers to learn more about the health needs and care experience of LGBTQIA+ individuals with PD. This information could help inform how best to tailor future efforts for diverse communities. They are recruiting people aged 18 and up with PD who identify as LGBTQIA+ to fill out surveys or participate in virtual interviews, in the US. Learn more about eligibility and contact the study team.  

  • Targeting LRRK2 to Slow Disease Progression: Some people with Parkinson’s have too much activity of the LRRK2 protein in their central nervous system. The REASON study, led by biotech company Biogen, is testing an experimental drug aimed at decreasing levels of LRRK2 protein to slow Parkinson’s progression. At seven sites across the U.S., the trial is recruiting volunteers diagnosed with Parkinson’s in the last seven years (with or without a LRRK2 gene mutation). They are recruiting volunteers who have either not undergone any treatment or are on a stable dose of Parkinson’s medication to treat symptoms. Learn more and connect with study sites at

  • Profiling GBA Mutations in Parkinson’s: With GBA mutations being the most commonly known genetic link to Parkinson’s disease, a MJFF-funded study from the Pacific Parkinson's Research Centre aims to better understand the relationship between GBA mutations and PD. Study volunteers will undergo brain scans and other assessments at a site in Vancouver, Canada. The study is recruiting people with GBA mutations, with and without Parkinson’s. Find the site nearest you and contact the study team

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