Research is a vital part of our mission. Over the years, we have contributed substantially to the world's literature on the diagnosis and treatment of movement disorders. Research activities occur at the level of the basic sciences, including animal experimentation, as well as at the clinical level. Opportunities for research opportunities are available for all our diseases of interest, and vary from one-time research visits to complex clinical trials of novel medical and surgical therapies. The reasons for research participation are as varied as our patient population and range from the desire to improve ones own physical function to the wish that the suffering of future patients may be eased.
General areas of clinical research include:
- Epidemiology: the study of who gets certain diseases in the hope that factors may be identified which may prevent the occurrence of disease.
- Characterization of features of the disease: the study of certain characteristics of the disease that may increase our understanding of the disease itself or its impact on physical and emotional health.
- "Protective" therapies: the study of new drugs or surgical approaches that help to slow or stop the degenerative brain processes underlying some movement disorders.
- Novel "symptomatic" therapies: the study of new drugs or surgical approaches that help to control the symptoms of degenerative brain processes, while not directly treating the degenerative process itself.
How patients are selected for participation in research:
Each research study has clearly defined study subjects. Such factors as the precise nature and severity of the disease under study, patient age, gender and ethnic background and exposure to certain medications are included in these criteria. Patients are selected by first reviewing our own patient population for suitable research candidates. It is sometimes necessary to supplement study subject recruitment by posting notices in patient newsletters and occasionally in local newspapers. Patients who seem to be good candidates for the study in question are given a subject information sheet which contains all pertinent information on the conduct of the study and the potential risks and benefits to participation. Those who are interested in participating are usually scheduled for a screening visit at which any questions might be answered and any final selection criteria are applied. The patient signs a consent form agreeing to comply with the requirements of the study. The actual procedures in the study vary greatly depending on the study but may include: taking experimental medications or having an experimental surgical procedure, administration of pencil and paper tests, rating of movement speed and accuracy, blood tests, spinal tap, videotape examinations or other tests. The decision to decline study participation in no way influences the excellent care a patient receives in our clinical practice.
Learn more about clinical trials in movement disorders now open to enrollment.