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Types of Parkinson’s Disease Research

Parkinson’s disease has many different facets. Researchers need a wide range of people to understand these facets. The way you and those around you live with the disease is unique. In Parkinson’s disease research, you are the bearers of hope for the discovery of targeted treatments and adapted interventions.

Parkinson’s disease research is not limited to testing for new medication. Whether you or a loved one has the disease, you can contribute to a future without Parkinson’s according to your own boundaries and abilities. Most research participants find the experience gratifying and rewarding. 

Finding a cure to Parkinson’s is everyone’s priority. The journey from the laboratory to pharmacy shelves can take more than a decade.

  • Phase I: The safety of the product is tested on healthy volunteers
  • Phase II: Efficacy and safety are tested on a small number of people with the disease
  • Phase III: If results are positive, the efficacy of the product is evaluated at an international level in a significant number of patients before Health Canada approves it for commercialization

Throughout this long journey, hundreds of leads will be abandoned due to side effects or a lack of efficiency.

Some Parkinson’s disease studies evaluate new medical strategies to reduce the negative effects of the disease, such as intervention to prevent falls or depression medication. This intervention research requires travel to university research centres. 

Other studies are observational, meaning they do not test medications or treatments. Rather, they provide a better understanding of the disease’s progression or help researchers develop new hypotheses for future treatments. These studies are often done through questionnaires that participants can fill out at home.

Other studies use different types of brain imagery (MRI, PET scan, etc.) to better understand the range of symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease. Changes in brain activity or structure are associated with the symptoms presented and their severity.

You can also contribute to better understanding the onset of the disease by giving blood, skin or saliva samples. Researchers can then study the genetic factors that influence the development of Parkinson’s disease or detect biological indicators for the early diagnosis of the disease. These studies often require minimal participant involvement. 

Finally, you can make a significant contribution to science with a brain donation upon your death. These studies provide a better understanding of the underlying processes of the disease.

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