Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson’s researcher examining samples in an environmental control room.

Parkinson's disease affects 10 million people worldwide. It is a devastating neurodegenerative condition that leads to slowness of movement and rigidity and, in a large proportion of patients, depression and dementia. Currently, while there are strategies to alleviate early motor symptoms, there is no cure.

Parkinson's disease-related research in Ottawa is currently organized around the Parkinson Research Consortium (PRC), which has made great strides in basic and preclinical research since its inception in 2004. Consortium researchers come together from multiple Ottawa institutions to explore and understand the genetic factors and cell biological processes that contribute to Parkinson's disease.

The uOBMRI will undertake a number of initiatives related to Parkinson's disease, including:

Integrated Parkinson's Care Network (IPCN)

This initiative will coordinate and provide the best and most appropriate hospital and community resources for the personalized needs of each patient, while at the same time producing valuable clinical data.

Personalize Parkinson’s Care by integrating healthcare options so that patients are connected to hospital and community services that treat all their motor and non-motor Parkinson’s symptoms. Healthcare plans are designed by a neurologist and overseen by a nurse coordinator who links patients to the appropriate services.

Our Collaborative Partnership Team has successfully set-up the required integrated care system and:

  1. Identified a clinical care nurse coordinator,
  2. Created an Access database that contains contact information for a comprehensive (>100) list of healthcare resources,
  3. Established the parameters to monitor patient progress, health benefit and quality of life within this program.
  4. Started enrolling patients in this program in July 2015!

Understanding brain circuitry in Parkinson's disease

A major problem in understanding brain disorders has been insufficient insight into how the human brain functions at the network and circuitry level. The development of this new program will provide the perfect opportunity to address this issue in a meaningful way. Researchers will record brain neuron activity of patients to study how brain patterning is affected in disease states and how potential interventions may affect their outcomes. We will also determine how specific genes alter brain cell and circuit function.

Ottawa neurosurgeon implants brain stimulator to relieve Parkinson's symptoms
Dr. Adams Sachs, a neurosurgeon at The Ottawa Hospital and a member of the uOBMRI had recently launched this region’s first deep brain stimulation (DBS) program after two years of training at Stanford University. The Ottawa Hospital had secured provincial funding to perform one DBS surgery a month


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Read the Parkinson Research Consortium (PRC) | Year-In-Review 2019!

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