MONTINE, THOMAS J
Pacific Northwest Udall Center
Parkinson's disease & PD-related disorders
Pacific Northwest, Parkinson Disease, Impaired cognition, Parkinson's Dementia, non-motor symptom
? DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a growing global health problem that causes untold suffering for patients and their loved ones, and challenges health care systems. Motor symptoms are the classic features for which there are effective interventions; however, non-motor symptoms, especially cognitive impairment, are very common, may precede motor symptoms, and do not respond well to existing therapies. Solutions will come only from research. The Pacific Northwest Udall Center (PANUC), one of nine NINDS-funded Morris K. Udall Centers of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease Research, is our response to this research imperative. PANUC is committed to contributing to the long term, ambitious goal of developing the knowledge and tools for optimally targeted and timed interventions for cognitive impairment in PD. Our innovative three Cores and three Projects are structured around genetic risk for different types of cognitive impairment in PD. Our research focuses on molecular pathology and mechanisms of disease, investigation of neural systems using novel brain imaging, and mechanisms of balance and gait problems, in part an expression of cognitive impairment, in genetically-defined subgroups of patients with PD. Each of our research goals is ranked among the highest priority recommendations of two recent NINDS Conferences: Parkinson’s Disease 2014: Advancing Research, Improving Lives and 2013 Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Dementias: Research Challenges and Opportunities (which included PD dementia).
PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that over a half million people in the United States suffer from Parkinson’s disease, causing untold suffering to patients as well as their caregivers and other loved ones. The physical, emotional, and societal costs of Parkinson’s disease will increase over the coming decades as more of us live longer. Cognitive impairment is a common feature of Parkinson’s disease that is disabling for patients and challenging to caregivers. Our center is focused on the clear imperative to find better tools for diagnosis and better ways to treat cognitive impairment in patients with Parkinson’s disease.