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National Parkinson Foundation Awards Nearly $1 Million for Clinical Research

Thursday, April 15, 2010 Press Release J E 4
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--Two Studies Focus on Early Cognitive Changes--

MIAMI, April 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) has awarded nearly $1 million to four investigators pursuing clinical research projects in 2010. The research NPF is funding will help advance the field in two key areas: early signs of cognitive change in Parkinson's disease and comparative effectiveness to advance the field of public policy.

Under the direction of the Clinical and Scientific Advisory Board, NPF supports cutting-edge research conducted by the world's top neurological experts.  These Clinical Research Fund awards will support four novel clinical investigations at Centers of Excellence in the United States, Canada and Australia.

"These awards are part of NPF's emphasis on clinical and comparative effectiveness research that is focused on improving care," said Joyce Oberdorf, President and CEO of the National Parkinson Foundation, an international foundation based in Miami.  "Each project can have an immediate impact on the lives of Parkinson's disease patients worldwide."

The following NPF 2010 individual-investigator grants have been funded:

  1. Early Detection of Cognitive Changes in the Brain—Toronto Western Research Institute: This study will be using advanced imaging techniques to study the mechanisms that lead to Parkinson's-related cognitive impairment in Parkinson's disease, a model pioneered successfully in Alzheimer's disease.  Investigator: Antonio Strafella, MD, Ph.D., FRCPC, Canada. Funded in part by the Jules A. Kernen, MD Memorial Fund.
  2. Visual Attention Deficits As An Early Sign of Cognitive Change—University of Florida: This study will be exploring visual attention deficit as a symptom of Parkinson's disease, yielding new insight into how Parkinson's affects the brain and the manifestations of these symptoms. Investigator: Sherrilene Classen, Ph.D., MPH, OTR/L, United States.
  3. Comparing Physical Therapy Outcomes: LSVT-BIG© vs. Aquatic Methods—University of Louisville: This study will be comparing two new approaches to physical therapy for Parkinson's disease with the potential to establish the efficacy of aquatic therapy, which is currently not covered by Medicare. Investigator: David Houghton, MD, MPH, United States.
  4. Comparing PD Management Strategies: Comprehensive Service Delivery vs. Standard Care—Victorian Comprehensive Parkinson's Program: This study will be exploring the cost-effectiveness of coordinated care versus uncoordinated care in a controlled experiment. Investigator: Robert Iansek, Ph.D., Australia.

NPF issues requests for proposals for the Clinical Research Fund annually with additional calls for proposals for other targeted initiatives throughout the year.  NPF will announce the 2011 grant program in August of 2010.

About the National Parkinson Foundation

The National Parkinson Foundation supports a strong network of 43 Centers of Excellence dedicated to excellence in research and providing comprehensive, interdisciplinary care to more than 50,000 Parkinson's patients and their families worldwide. Founded in 1957, the National Parkinson Foundation's mission is to improve the quality of care for people with Parkinson's disease through research, education, and outreach. Since 1982, NPF has funded more than $150 million in care, research and support services.

About Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's with an estimated one million people with the disease in the U.S. and four to six million worldwide. At present, there is no cure for Parkinson's disease and 50-60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S.

For more information about Parkinson's disease or the National Parkinson Foundation, please visit www.parkinson.org or call 800-327-4545.

SOURCE National Parkinson Foundation

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