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Canadian network awarded research funding from National Parkinson Foundation


Miami, FL – A Canadian research network is one of four clinical research groups sharing $1 million in funding from the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF). The research NPF is funding will help advance the field in two key areas: early signs of cognitive change in Parkinson’s disease and comparative effectiveness to advance the field of public policy.

The Clinical Research Fund awards will support four novel clinical investigations at Centers of Excellence in the United States, Canada and Australia.

“These awards are part of NPF’s emphasis on clinical and comparative effectiveness research that is focused on improving care,” said Joyce Oberdorf, president and CEO of the National Parkinson Foundation, an international foundation based in Miami. “Each project can have an immediate impact on the lives of Parkinson’s disease patients worldwide.”

The following NPF 2010 individual-investigator grants have been funded:

1. Early Detection of Cognitive Changes in the Brain–Toronto Western Research Institute: This study will be using advanced imaging techniques to study the mechanisms that lead to Parkinson’s-related cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease, a model pioneered successfully in Alzheimer’s disease. Investigator: Antonio Strafella, MD, Ph.D., FRCPC, Canada. Funded in part by the Jules A Kernen, MD Memorial Fund.

2. Visual Attention Deficits as an Early Sign of Cognitive Change–University of Florida: This study will be exploring visual attention deficit as a symptom of Parkinson’s disease, yielding new insight into how Parkinson’s affects the brain and the manifestations of these symptoms. Investigator: Sherrilene Classen, Ph.D., MPH, OTR/L, United States.

3. Comparing Physical Therapy Outcomes: LSVT-BIG© vs. Aquatic Methods–University of Louisville: This study will be comparing two new approaches to physical therapy for Parkinson’s disease with the potential to establish the efficacy of aquatic therapy, which is currently not covered by Medicare. Investigator: David Houghton, MD, MPH, United States.

4. Comparing PD Management Strategies: Comprehensive Service Delivery vs. Standard Care–Victorian Comprehensive Parkinson’s Program: This study will be exploring the cost-effectiveness of coordinated care versus uncoordinated care in a controlled experiment. Investigator: Robert Iansek, Ph.D., Australia.