Study News Initial findings first study Personalized Parkinson Project
25 September 2019

The researchers of the first study that uses data of the Personalized Parkinson Project are making great progress. They have collected baseline data in 347 Parkinson patients (ON medication) and 60 healthy controls. For 29 patients they have also performed additional measurements OFF medication. They are proud to present their initial findings and plans for the future. 

Study design
  • Study 1 (n=325 Parkinson patients ON dopaminergic medication, baseline versus follow-up of 2 years)
  • Study 2 (n=50 Parkinson patients OFF dopaminergic medication; n=50 healthy controls, baseline versus follow-up of 2 year)
Study progress
The researchers have collected baseline data (fMRI and clinical) in 347 Parkinson patients (ON medication) and 60 healthy controls. Furthermore, in 29/347 patients, they have also performed additional measurements OFF medication. Patients are able to adequately perform the task with few errors; exclusion rates are very low (<10%). The first fMRI data analyses show that Parkinson patients have slower reaction times during response selection, and this is associated with reduced brain activity in the putamen. In the next years, the research team will collect follow-up data (fMRI and clinical) in both Parkinson patients and in healthy controls. This will allow them to test for changes in brain activity that are associated with disease progression. 

Initial findings
Patients are highly motivated to participate in this study. The researchers have included 100% of subjects in study 1 and 75% of subjects in study 2. Patients are able to adequately perform the task. The quality of the fMRl scans is high, and exclusion rates are low (<10%). Initial analyses indicate clear differences between Parkinson patients and healthy controls. During the motor task, patients have significantly slower reaction times than healthy controls (for all conditions), and patients show significantly reduced task-related brain activity in the putamen contralateral to the movement. These findings are as expected. These initial findings form a strong basis for subsequent testing of longitudinal changes in motor-related brain activity when the follow-up data becomes available.

Difference in putamen activity for the internal 3 condition

Plans for the future 
The project is on schedule. ln the next 2 years and 3 months, the research team will:
  • Collect 31 more datasets (Parkinson patients OFF dopaminergic medication).
  • Perform follow-up scans in all 347 Parkinson patients (ON medication) and in all 60 healthy controls after 2 years.
  • Improve the data analysis pipeline (e.g. incorporate EMG data when analyzing the fMRl data).
  • Link the clinical data to the fMRl data when the PEP environment is completed. This will allow them to test for relationships between individual disease characteristics (e.g. severity) and brain activity.
  • Write scientific manuscripts on the findings, and present at international conferences.
  • Furthermore, it is their aim to obtain funding to follow this unique cohort of Parkinson patients for a longer period than 2 years, ideally with both clinical and fMRl measurements.
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