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MJFF Funds Two Investigations of Placebo Effect in Parkinson's Disease
Date:12/29/2009

NEW YORK, Dec. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research announced funding for two projects investigating the placebo effect in Parkinson's disease.

Placebo treatments are harmless, inactive substances administered to some of the patients in a clinical trial to provide a baseline comparison for measuring the effects of active treatment given to other patients in the trial. The placebo effect -- in which patients who receive an inert substance nonetheless experience some or all benefits of active treatment -- is a topic of growing interest to Parkinson's researchers. The placebo effect has increasingly complicated the interpretation of outcomes from PD clinical trials, creating a significant hurdle to the development of new treatments. And it may have a greater impact in clinical trials for Parkinson's than other diseases, because it involves the dopamine system, which degenerates in PD.

As part of a clinical trial in dyskinesia announced by the Foundation earlier this month, a pilot study will seek to initially validate surveys that can predict how placebo response is impacted from person to person by disease- and treatment-related variables, as well as by individual personality characteristics of patients and investigators involved in clinical research. The pilot will assess the potential validity of the placebo surveys for other future clinical trials, as well as provide ancillary information on various dyskinesia rating scales' susceptibility to placebo effects. Researchers Mark Stacy, MD, of Duke University and Glenn T. Stebbins, PhD, of Rush University Medical Center will compile and develop surveys to
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SOURCE Michael J. Fox Foundation
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