10-year MRI in Parkinson’s
Characterising 10-year brain changes associated with cognitive decline in Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative movement disorder that affects approximately 12,000 people in New Zealand, and which we project to double by 2040. While motor impairments dominate the early clinical picture, cognitive decline and dementia eventually cause the greatest burden in this progressive disease. While our understanding of the brain changes that drive this irreversible progression towards dementia is improving, there is still much we do not know. We are in a unique position world-wide to further this knowledge. Over the past decade, we have recruited and followed a group of Parkinson’s disease patients with extensive cognitive testing and different types of brain scans. We will now investigate how changes on multiple brain scans over 10 years are associated with cognitive decline and the development of dementia. This work will provide a more complete and nuanced understanding of the relationship between brain health and cognitive ability over time in Parkinson’s disease. In the long term, accurate tracking of brain health could have significant medical, social, and economic implications, by providing confirmation of appropriate treatment interventions to explore, and eventually providing outcome measures in future clinical trials of disease-modifying therapies.
Dr Melzer is involved in a wide range of neurological research, including child development, mild traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, neurodegenerative diseases, and more. As a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Medicine, his primary focus is on the development and application of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) techniques to advance our understanding of cognitive decline in Parkinson’s disease.More About Dr Tracy Melzer