The coronavirus COVID-19 has had (and is still having) an enormous global impact. A lot of researchers saw their studies temporarily shut down due to the safety measures in hospitals and research centers and were unable to see their participants. This was also the case for the Personalized Parkinson Project.
Luckily though, the effects on the study are mild. We even started two new (add-on) studies and since the start of July we were able to see participants again. Read more about the adjustments we had to make and how they impact the study below.
The original plan
The original plan was to see each participant three times in two years (where the second visit is a one year follow-up and the third visit a two year follow-up). We plan the follow-up visits within 60 days of the exact follow-up date. During each visit we collect a large amount of clinical data. The first and third visit are the most extensive including advanced neuroimaging and an optional lumbar puncture. Next to this participants collect data from their homes with the Verily Study Watch.
The adjusted plan
Due to COVID-19 we were unable to see participants in March, April, May and June. We were very happy we could start seeing participants again in July (of course with certain measures to ensure everyone’s safety). We decided to resume the original planning and start with the participants who were initially planned for July. We unfortunately had to choose to completely skip the second follow-up visits that were canceled from March until June. These participants will however complete the home-questionnaires that were planned after their second visit.
In contrast to the skipped second follow-ups, we are going to catch up with the third follow-up visits that were canceled from March until June. We give priority to participants we can see within the original time frame. As a result, some participants will be seen somewhat later than originally planned.
The impact of the adjustments
Although unfortunate, the skipped second follow-up visits were the least extensive. In total we had to skip 65 visits, a manageable number. And since we do have the home-questionnaires and the Verily Study Watch data (which participants kept wearing loyally), we still have a lot of information about these participants during this period. For the study it is more important to catch up with the extensive third follow-up visits, and luckily we are able to do this. We also didn’t waste the corona crisis and our time during these months. We were able to enroll Virtual Motor Examinations on the Verily Study Watch and start with a new study on the impact of COVID-19 on patients with Parkinson’s disease.
In conclusion COVID-19 definitely had consequences for our study, but we are certain that the quality of our dataset will be almost just as high. We look forward to dig into and analyze the data and of course, to share our dataset with researchers worldwide!
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