The Texas-based Parkinson Disease Center and Movement Disorder Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) will be helping researchers to understand the risk factors and causes of Parkinson’s disease by participating in the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative’s (PPMI) study.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) and consortium of 13 industry partners has been funding the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative’s (PPMI) study since 2010. This study was initiated to study the potential biomarkers that are helpful in understanding the disease process. With the new arm of the study, the researchers are working to establish the role of potential risk factors like: rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (RBD); hyposmia (or a reduced sense of smell); or a mutation in the LRRK2 gene (that is believed to be the most important genetic contributor to PD).
Read more about biomarkers at BioNews Texas
The Texas based Baylor College of Medicine has been participating in the study since its inception and is among one of the 23 sites where the new arm of study is being researched. As part of the research subjects with no history of Parkinson’s disease are being enrolled (according to study criteria, all patients must be above 60 years of age) and must possess one of the three potential risk factors.
The primary aim of confirming the association of these risk factors is to validate that these risk factors can lead to the PD that will help researchers to devise the treatments that can stop or slow the progression of disease.
Dr. Joseph Jankovic, professor of neurology and director of the Parkinson Disease Center and Movement Disorder Clinic at BCM commented:
“Identifying biomarkers that help us diagnose the disease early is one of the major goals of PD research. We are proud to have been selected as one of the few centers involved in PPMI as well as the new arm of the study designed to validate the earliest markers for PD, such as loss of smell which often precedes the onset of typical motor symptoms of PD, such as tremor, slowness of movement and stiffness of muscles, by several years of decades.”
How to enroll?
Interested volunteers are required to complete a brief survey online or on phone (877) 525-PPMI. All the qualified study participants will then be dispatched a scratch-and-sniff smell test along with a brief questionnaire by mail. Researchers can also choose some random study participants for further testing.
Todd Sherer, Ph.D., CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research commented:
“In the third year of PPMI, it is evident that a large-scale biomarker study is not only possible in Parkinson’s disease, but is already yielding scientific insights that could help transform the field of Parkinson’s research. None of this progress would be possible without the willing volunteers who donate their time and energy to the pursuit of a cure.”
Study participants who live in the vicinity of Houston will be working with the research unit of Parkinson Disease Center and Movement Disorder Clinic at BCM; whereas other study participants will be coordinating with the research coordinator at a participating center closest to them.