At the Gardner Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders, a national Morris K. Udall Center for Parkinson’s Disease Research, our physicians combine clinical treatment expertise, medical research, new experimental compounds and proven, established medications to help determine the most effective treatments for Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders.
Clinical researchers are also exploring different strategies to improve freezing of gait, a troublesome symptom of Parkinson’s disease, and the effects of strength and balance training on balance and cognitive impairments in people with Parkinson’s disease. An ongoing study, funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, is evaluating visual cueing therapies and methylphenidate medication as possible treatments for freezing.
Another study is examining the effect of deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery on balance, using equipment at a sophisticated gait and balance laboratory. Upcoming studies are examining CoEnzyme Q10 as a potential disease-modifying agent for patients with Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.
Studies that do not lead to patient improvement can still provide important insights, such as the link between high uric acid levels and slower progression of Parkinson’s disease. Such findings help researchers understand the disease process and can help them devise strategies to slow or halt its progression.
Basic Science Research
The Gardner Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders includes an accomplished team of research scientists. Supported by a dedicated staff of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and technicians, the research team is committed to changing the face of Parkinson’s disease through research and discovery. The team seeks new ways to manage and alleviate symptoms; it seeks new therapies to slow disease progression; and it seeks, above all, to find a cure.
The Gardner Center includes the Selma Schottenstein Harris Laboratory for Research in Parkinson’s, established in 2003 with a generous gift from Saul Schottenstein in honor of his sister. The laboratory is directed by Kim Seroogy, PhD.
The basic science team advances its work through collaborations with clinical and research colleagues across the country and with funding partners, including the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Davis Phinney Foundation.
Dopamine nerve cell degeneration is the primary cause of Parkinson’s disease, and as a result, much of the team’s research efforts focus on developing novel experimental treatments that enhance dopamine cell survival or allow the brain to function more normally. By examining why and how dopamine cells degenerate and how the brain is altered when dopamine production slows or is absent, researchers are able to identify risk factors associated with the disease and to develop and test theories that could lead to therapeutic treatments.