Current Studies

Cholinergic functions and modulation of the cingulo-opercular alertness network in LBD

Participant type: Lewy Body Dementia

This study is recruiting adults with Lewy Body Dementia that are at least 50 years old. This research study is being done to learn important information about how the brain maintains alertness in Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). Secondarily, there is evidence that cognitive abilities in those with LBD respond well to drug based treatment, therefore this study looks to learn about how cognitive abilities respond to weak electrical stimulation on brain functioning in those with LBD. We will use brain imaging to determine an individualized dosage. We will use additional brain imaging, tests, and questionnaires to determine whether these treatments changed any cognitive abilities.

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Lewy Body Dementia Biomarkers

Participant type: Dementia with Lewy Body and Parkinson's Disease Dementia

In cooperation with the US Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health are conducting a research study to learn more about conditions related both to Parkinson disease (PD) and difficulty with memory and concentration, called dementia. Patients usually have combinations of several brain changes, including the accumulations of proteins in nerve cells called synuclein (Syn), or of proteins in nerve cells called tau, or of proteins outside of brain cells called a-beta-amyloid (AB). Individual patients may have a combination of these changes, but at present, doctors have no way of knowing which specific changes a patient has. Dementia associated with PD has no effective treatment at the present time, and to develop new therapies it is believed that knowing the specific changes in individual patients will be required. This research project will investigate new brain imaging approaches that the investigators hope will identify protein accumulations in the brain of individual patients with PD-related dementia. Investigators will also collaborate with the US National Institutes of Health in establishing a national research database including data on PD and dementia ratings, brain scans, and samples of blood, spinal fluid and DNA to enhance and accelerate future investigations of the PD and dementia disorders.

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The Thalamus in Parkinson's Disease

Participant type: Parkinson's Disease

We are looking for adults with Parkinson's Disease above the age of 45. We propose to investigate how general changes in vision and attention affect coordination of movement and vision control of movements in PD and how this relates to changes in the thalamus (an area of the brain important for attention, vision processing, and balance and gait control). We will use a combination of positron emission topography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods to assess for thalamic changes. Specifically, we will investigate the role of thalamic dopaminergic and cholinergic (chemical “messengers” in the brain) changes in PD

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Central cholinergic presbyvestibulopathy network changes and imbalance in Parkinson's disease and older persons

Participant type: Healthy Controls and Parkinson's Disease

Normal adults or people with PD who are at least 60 years of age who can walk independently can participate in this study. Participants should be willing and able to comply with study requirements. This study is looking at performing detailed clinical assessments and brain imaging in older adults or subjects with PD, who have imbalance, and how this may relate to vestibular (inner ear balance) changes. This study is being funded by the National Institute of Aging. By doing this study, we hope to gain new insights into mechanisms of imbalance in older persons or people with PD.

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Cholinergic Mechanisms of Gait Dysfunction in Parkinson's Disease

Participant type: Parkinson's Disease and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy

The following subjects can participate in this study. Individuals with Parkinson’s disease or Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). At least 50 years of age. No history of major stroke. Not on medications to treat memory difficulties or hallucinations. Should be able to undergo brain MRI. This study involves the following. Detailed examinations of your mobility functions and thinking skills. This part will take about 1 full day of your time. Brain imaging procedures will be performed on another day, which will also take about 1 full day of your time. For those with Parkinson’s disease, all these study procedures will be repeated at approximately two years after your initial visits.

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Vestibulopathy, imbalance and gait disturbances in Parkinson disease

Participant type: Parkinson's Disease

Men and women who are at least 45 years of age who have had Parkinson's Disease for greater than 5 years and can walk independently can participate in this study. Participants should be willing and able to comply with study requirements. This study is looking at performing detailed clinical assessments and brain imaging in subjects with PD, especially FoG and imbalance, and how this may relate to vestibular (inner ear balance) changes. A second aim of this study is a feasibility study of a device treatment, called thermoneuromodulation (TNM), that may provide a benefit to PD symptoms. Thermoneuromodulation delivers subtle changes in temperature through a head set that is positioned in the outer ear canal. This study is being funded by the Ann Arbor VA. By doing this study, we hope to investigate new alternative methods to help treat the symptoms of PD.

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Effects of dynamic standing vs. static standing on subjective fatigue symptoms: a pilot study

Participant type: Healthy Controls, Parkinson's Disease, and Multiple Sclerosis

We are looking for persons who want to participate in a study that will look at the effects that performing light office work while standing upright will have on subjective ratings of muscle comfort. Tests will include upright standing behind a desk, quietly or while making small stepping movements, and various questionnaires. We are seeking healthy adults without a medical history that would prevent from safe participation in the project. Subjects may be either male or female, ages 20-50. Participants will be compensated for time and effort.

Web-based Automated Imaging Differentiation of Parkinsonism

Participant type: Parkinson's Disease, Multiple System Atrophy, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy

We are looking to recruit adults who are 40 years old with MSA, PSP, or PD. The purpose of this study is to test the performance of a web-based software tool called Automated Imaging Differentiation of Parkinsonism (wAID-P) across 21 sites in the Parkinson Study Group. Each site will perform imaging, clinical scales, neurological exams, and will upload the data to the web-based software tool. The web-based software tool will provide accurate diagnosis between Parkinson’s disease (PD), Multiple System Atrophy parkinsonian (MSAp), and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) participants across 21 sites. Your participation in this study will last approximately 12-18 months.