Predicting risk of cognitive decline in Parkinson’s disease
Approximately 10,000 New Zealanders are affected by the debilitating movement limitations from Parkinson’s disease (PD). We now know that many, though not all, PD patients eventually also develop dementia, which then becomes the most burdensome aspect of this progressive condition. Though no treatments are currently available, there is a need to detect individuals at high risk of cognitive decline, which will then allow them to be targeted in forthcoming therapeutic trials. The New Zealand Brain Research Institute has developed an extensive database of brain scans and longitudinal cognitive measures of people with Parkinson’s disease. Using the BlueFern supercomputer at the University of Canterbury, this project will develop, test, and validate a sophisticated mathematical model that will use brain scans and cognitive measures to optimise quantitative predictions of the risk of future cognitive impairment for an individual.