Brain & Mind Research Institute launches new clinic for Parkinson's Disease

21 November 2008

The University of Sydney's Brain and Mind Research Institute has launched a new clinic focussing on Parkinson's Disease research.

The BMRI is a centre for innovative strategies that translate research into improved treatment and disease prevention strategies.

The Parkinson's Disease research clinic will be headed by Dr Simon Lewis whose previous research, conducted at the University of Cambridge UK, used a novel data-driven approach to identify the existence of sub-groups within a population of PD sufferers.

Parkinson's Disease (PD) affects over 80,000 Australians and has an estimated financial cost of more than $500 million. It not only represents a significant disability for sufferers but also carries an enormous socio-economic impact for the nation.

Although best known for its physical symptoms of slowed movements, muscle stiffness and tremor, much of the impact on quality of life in PD is the result of changes in mood, memory and sleep disturbances, which do not respond well to commonly used therapies. Such non-physical problems often manifest for several years before any of the physical symptoms emerge and are difficult to diagnose.

It is hoped that understanding the underlying causes for these features of disease will lead to improved treatment strategies and will hold the key an earlier recognition of the disease.

Dr Lewis says: " Many neurologists had previously observed what appeared to be the existence of specific sub-groups of patients within the spectrum of Parkinson's disease and for the first time my work in Cambridge objectively demonstrated this to be true."

The new PD Research Clinic at the BMRI is looking to assess patients at all stages of the disease and is collecting data across clinical, cognitive, psychiatric and behavioural domains in an annual three-hour visit.
Investigators hope to use these assessments to select and recruit specific sub-groups of patients into future studies that will capitalise on the facilities within the BMRI such as, the Circadian Studies Sleep Laboratory and the Ramociotti Imaging Centre. The clinic has also established ties with the NSW Parkinson's disease Brain Bank with the long-term aim of correlating clinical findings during life with the underlying pathological changes.

The PD Research Clinic will take place at the Brain & Mind Research Institute in Mallett Street, Camperdown. Anyone suffering with PD who would like to become involved or receive further information should contact the Parkinson's Disease Research Clinic (see details below).

Contact: Parkinson's Disease Research Clinic at BMRI

Phone: 02 9351 0702

Email: 281628282f03195135281710190c4b1f215f0729216733277a