Clinical Trial Participation Might Help Discover a Cure For Parkinson’s

by Jacob Anderson ,  fox news | 2012-05-25

Clinical trials are central to Parkinson's disease (PD) treatment breakthroughs and, ultimately, a cure. Unfortunately, 30 percent of clinical trials fail to recruit a single volunteer. Recruitment difficulties plague the vast majority of trials, resulting in greater expenses and delayed action, but by participating in a clinical study, you can be part of the solution.

Observational and interventional trials
There are two main kinds of clinical studies: interventional and observational. Interventional studies assess a treatment's effectiveness and safety. Observational studies, on the other hand, monitor the health of volunteers over an extended period, resulting in a deeper comprehension of PD.

Trials can bring a better understanding of treatment and prevention, genetics, detection and how to improve one's lifestyle with PD. Fewer than 10 percent of people with PD participate in these trials, a statistic which prompted actor and PD-advocate Michael J. Fox to suggest, "You may be the answer you're looking for."

Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI)
PPMI is a landmark research project expediting the advancement of medical research. Since there is currently no method for diagnosing PD before symptoms appear, scientists are working to uncover a biomarker.

By the time Fox noticed that his pinky was twitching one morning (a simple symptom of Parkinson's), 80 percent of his dopamine-producing cells were already gone. Lack of dopamine causes motor skills to deteriorate. If doctors had a cholesterol-type test for PD to identify at-risk people, they would have the ability to start treating patients before the disease progresses too far.

Most clinical trials seek to hone existent treatments. The ultimate goal of PPMI is to aid in finding a cure. Fox has described PPMI as "the most exciting piece of research out there."
 



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