New findings can help Parkinson’s patients

For patients with Parkinson’s disease, early signs of a certain part of the brain being broken down has been shown to have a negative impact on the course of the disease. The results of a study which researchers from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital are behind can potentially alter current practice and help target the treatment of patients.

Already in the earliest stages of Parkinson’s disease, almost half of all patients show signs of what is called the caudate section of the brain being broken down.

This is the first time that researchers have studied in a large cohort of patients what it means if the caudate section of the brain is broken down in the earliest stages of Parkinson’s disease. Previously, it was generally thought that Caudate dysfunction occured later in the course of the disease. Image credit: Jorge Lopez  via Unsplash (Unsplash licence)This is the first time that researchers have studied in a large cohort of patients what it means if the caudate section of the brain is broken down in the earliest stages of Parkinson’s disease. Previously, it was generally thought that Caudate dysfunction occured later in the course of the disease. Image credit: Jorge Lopez  via Unsplash (Unsplash licence)

This is the first time that researchers have studied in a large cohort of patients what it means if the caudate section of the brain is broken down in the earliest stages of Parkinson’s disease. Previously, it was generally thought that Caudate dysfunction occured later in the course of the disease. Image credit: Jorge Lopez via Unsplash (Unsplash licence)

This is shown by new research results from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital, which Associate Professor Nicola Pavese is behind. This new knowledge is important for the between four and five hundred people in Denmark who contract Parkinson’s disease every year.

“The breaking down of the caudate section of the brain so early in the disease seems to have consequences for the patient later on,” says Nicola Pavese.

Worse prognosis

The prognosis becomes worse, patients cognitive abilities appear to deteriorate quicker, more are affected by depression and experience  gait  problems. So if we can identify those patients who are at risk of the disease developing faster at an early stage, it will be easier for us to begin targeted treatment,” he says.

The study is published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery Psychiatry, and is the first of its kind. The researchers analysed clinical data from 397 patients with Parkinson’s disease. These patients had suffered from the disease for no longer than two years. They compared the patients’ condition at the beginning of the study with their condition four years later so they could see how advanced the disease was.

Background for the results:

  • The results originate from The Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI)  a longitudinal study, which is a method based on repeated measurements of the same subjects.
  • The PPMI study is financed by s funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and funding partners including AbbVie, Allergan, Avid, Biogen, BioLegend, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, Denali Therapeutics, GE Healthcare, Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline, Lilly, Lundbeck, Merck, Meso Scale Discovery, Pfizer, Piramal, Prevail Therapeutics, Roche, Sanofi Genzyme, Servier, Takeda, Teva, UCB, Verily, Voyager Therapeutics and Golub Capital.
  • Associate Professor Nicola Pavese’s research if funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark (IRFD)
  • The scientific article has been published in Neurology, Neurosurgery Psychiatry.

Source: Aarhus University


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