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NIH funds research to identify Parkinson's biomarkers
Date:2/14/2013

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According to Bowman, there are no diagnostic tests that confirm Parkinson's disease. Instead, physicians base Parkinson's diagnoses on a combination of medical history, symptoms, neurological and physical examinations, and response to certain medications. Bowman and his team will develop statistical algorithms that will filter through millions of different possible brain measurements to detect changes that indicate neuro-degeneration related to Parkinson's. This will help accurately distinguish groups that are more likely to develop Parkinson's, thus changing what is known about the disease, enabling diagnosis before the classic motor symptoms occur and potentially altering treatments.

The research project has two aims:

1. Imaging-based Biomarkers: Using imaging technology, the team will capture changes in brain activity, structure and pathology related to Parkinson's. A novel aspect of the research will be combining different types of imaging data as well as other biologic information to extract multidimensional Parkinson's disease biomarkers.

2. Utilization of Comprehensive Clinical Database Through a partnership with Kaiser Permanente of Georgia, the researchers will be able to access comprehensive, non-identifiable, patient medical records. They will compare and contrast medical histories, laboratory test results, medications and additional diagnoses to determine a risk-factor profile for Parkinson's.

All nine research groups funded by the NINDS will have access to each group's work through a web-based management system. The researchers will work together to apply their broad clinical and research expertise and samplings to their own research.

"The core of all of our research in the Parkinson's Disease Biomarker Program is to redefine Parkinson's," explains Bowman. "This program allows an avenue for researchers to unite, collaborate and ultimately expedite the advancement of understanding and treatment o
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Contact: Melva Robertson
melva.robertson@emory.edu
404-727-5692
Emory Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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