Friday, 29 July 2011

Approaching target number

"After a very busy 8 days for the Predict PD team, I'm pleased to say we are nearing our target of 1000 participants in the pilot study. Not all will be eligible, so if you have not yet signed up or can think of others who would like to be involved please continue to spread the word. 

We have now sent out 300 smell tests and aim will aim to get another 300 out next week, and more the week after. 

Thank you to all of you that are supporting the project."

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Predict PD Update

"Of the 600 people who have registered in the last few days, 500 have completed the questionnaire and can expect a smell test to to be delivered to the address they provided. 

The smell tests should be with you in 1-2 weeks. But given the high rate of participation, please be patient if it takes a little longer.

Contact me on if you have an questions"


Alastair Noyce

Friday, 22 July 2011

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Predict PD Gains Momentum!

"What a day it has been for the Predict PD pilot study!! 250 participants in just 6 hours and no signs of slowing down. 

Thank you to all those who have registered and participated so far. Your smell tests will be dispatched and should get to you in 1-2 weeks (we have more on order). I have been looking through the feedback and want to thank many of you for your kind comments. Those that have asked questions in the feedback, I will be getting round to answering them as soon as possible.

Thank you to Parkinson's UK for their wonderful ongoing support and thank you to Grass Roots Group who support our web site and tests.

I hope that many more of you will join and invite friends and colleagues you think may also like to participate."

Alastair Noyce
Predict PD

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Gut biopsies in early Parkinson's

Alpha-synuclein in colonic submucosa in early untreated Parkinson's disease.

Shannon KM, Keshavarzian A, Mutlu E, Dodiya HB, Daian D, Jaglin JA, Kordower JH.
Mov Disord. 2011 Jul 15. doi: 10.1002/mds.23838. [Epub ahead of print]

" Alpha-synuclein is a protein that accumulates in the brain cells of people with Parkinson's. It is considered the key finding for confirming a diagnosis of Parkinson's at post-mortem. This study shows that it may be possible to identify this protein in other tissues, potentially very early in the disease. It may prove a useful marker for disease progression or monitoring response to treatment. However, further work is needed in the gut and other tissues."

Monday, 18 July 2011

Biomarkers in Parkinson's disease

Biomarker candidates of neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease for the evaluation of disease-modifying therapeutics.

Gerlach M, Maetzler W, Broich K, Hampel H, Rems L, Reum T, Riederer P, Stöffler A, Streffer J, Berg D.

J Neural Transm. 2011 Jul 14. [Epub ahead of print]

"Biomarkers are biological markers that can be objectively measured to monitor normal physiological processes, pathological/disease processes and responses to drug treatment. This article reviews candidate biomarkers for Parkinson's disease that may help us monitor disease progression, but most importantly could be used to measure response to new drug treatments" 

Sunday, 17 July 2011

An introduction to PD

A short video on PD. Does it address your needs? If not please post a comment and we will answer your questions. 

Saturday, 16 July 2011

History of PD (1) - James Parkinson

Dr James Parkinson wrote the first description of 'The Shaking Palsy', or what is now known as Parkinson's disease, in 1817. He was a man for the ages and lived in London around the Age of Enlightenment. He was a political activist, geologist, scientist, humanist, leading public health and ethical thinker and a doctor to the people in the Parish of St Leonard's, Shoredicth, North London. This short documentary film takes the viewer through James's life and gives a glimpse of the streets in which he lived, worked and first came across people who had Parkinson's disease. This film has been carefully and lovingly researched and filmed by Dr David Williams (who is also a Neurologist) and is narrated by Dr Gerald Stern. It has been shown in London, Berlin, Chicago and New Orleans.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Ultrasound used to predict Parkinson's

Enlarged substantia nigra hyperechogenicity and risk for Parkinson disease: a 37-month 3-center study of 1847 older persons.

Berg D, Seppi K, Behnke S, Liepelt I, Schweitzer K, Stockner H, Wollenweber F, Gaenslen A, Mahlknecht P, Spiegel J, Godau J, Huber H, Srulijes K, Kiechl S, Bentele M, Gasperi A, Schubert T, Hiry T, Probst M, Schneider V, Klenk J, Sawires M, Willeit J, Maetzler W, Fassbender K, Gasser T, Poewe W.

Arch Neurol. 2011;68(7):932-937. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2011.141

"These are the emerging data from the novel PRIPS study taking place in Germany and Austria, which looks at markers for early Parkinson's disease. This article shows how ultrasound scanning of brain structure through the temple of the head can be used to identify people at increased risk of Parkinson's. Whilst there are some problems with this technology, such as it cannot be used in 10% of people due to differences in skull bones, this report underlines the potential for this technique in predicting Parkinson's. It is a cheaper and simpler imaging technique than other imaging options that look to achieve the same thing."

Physical activity and Parkinson's disease

How might physical activity benefit patients with Parkinson disease?

Speelman AD, van de Warrenburg BP, van Nimwegen M, Petzinger GM, Munneke M, Bloem BR
Nat Rev Neurol. 2011 Jul 12. doi: 10.1038/nrneurol.2011.107. [Epub ahead of print].

"This is an article about the potential role of exercise in Parkinson's. There is increasing evidence of a therapeutic role of exercise in managing Parkinson's. At Predict PD, we are particularly interested in physical activity because two separate studies have shown that physical activity may reduce the risk of Parkinson's in the future. However, further work must be done on both physical activity during Parkinson's and preceding Parkinson's to confirm these observations"

Monday, 11 July 2011

This is a nice website funded by Orion Pharmaceuticals. It includes some basic information on Parkinson's and also questionnaires and a diary for patients encountering fluctuations in their symptoms as a result of their medication.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

No relationship between obesity or diabetes and subsequent risk of Parkinson's

Obesity, diabetes, and risk of Parkinson's disease

Palacios N, Gao X, McCullough ML, Jacobs EJ, Patel AV, Mayo T, Schwarzschild MA, Ascherio A.
Movement Disorders 2011 Jul 7. doi: 10.1002/mds.23855. [Epub ahead of print]

"New research from a large cohort showing that markers for obesity and diabetes mellitus do not influence subsequent risk of developing Parkinson's. These findings are generally in keeping with other research on obesity and diabetes as risk factors and suggests that neither will be particularly helpful when trying to determine which individuals are at increase risk of Parkinson's"

Thursday, 7 July 2011

News from the 23andMe project

News from the 23andMe project

"23andMe is a project running in the US that invites people to submit a sample of saliva for genetic testing and recruits people over the Internet. Using thousands of participants, both those that are healthy and those with diseases, it then compares differences in genetic make-up between groups. In this new report, the scientists from 23andMe present 2 new genetic areas of interest in Parkinson's. Whilst these are potentially important in unravelling the biology of Parkinson's, it also demonstrates the power and potential of research conducted over the Internet. Research like we are doing at Predict PD"

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Medicine and Technology Talk

"Take a look at this rapid overview of emerging medical technology for the next few years. A great presentation by Daniel Kraft from Stanford."

Monday, 4 July 2011


Motor and non-motor correlates of olfactory dysfunction in Parkinson's disease.

Berendse HW, Roos DS, Raijmakers P, Doty RL.

J Neurol Sci. 2011 Jun 24. [Epub ahead of print]

"We know that smell sense is abnormal in the majority of people with Parkinson's and is at least as common as the tremor. It has previously been suggested that abnormal smell sense (hyposmia) does not worsen with progression of Parkinson's and therefore whilst a useful marker for Parkinson's overall, it might be less useful for monitoring disease. However, this study suggests that in the early stages of Parkinson's, deterioration in smell sense did correlate with disease severity - the movement symptoms, the other symptoms and the imaging. This is a useful finding and suggests that smell sense could possibly be used to monitor Parkinson's in the early stages"

Saturday, 2 July 2011


A Prospective Study of Bowel Movement Frequency and Risk of Parkinson's Disease

Am J Epidemiol. 2011 Jun 30. [Epub ahead of print]

Gao X, Chen H, Schwarzschild MA, Ascherio A

This is another prospective study in two large cohorts (the Health Professionals Follow Up Study and the Nurses Health Study) that supports the theory that constipation precedes the movement symptoms in people with Parkinson's disease. 

It is important to recognise that constipation can have many causes and is common in the older general population. Parkinson's disease is much less common and as such only a very small number of people with constipation will later get the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. However, this association between Parkinson's and constipation may help scientists identify people at-risk far earlier. The Predict PD pilot study incorporates constipation in its questionnaire.

New diagnostic scan for PD

GE Healthcare has announced the availability of new diagnostic scan for Parkinson's disease called the DaTscan (Ioflupane I 123 Injection).

"The DaTscan is of great interest to us. If this scan can be used in the pre-symptomatic phase of PD, that is before PD'ers are are aware that they have the disease, we may be able to target PD at a time-point with the greatest potential to modify the course of the disease."

For more information see the Diagnostic Imaging press release.

Conflict of interest: I have consulted for GE-Heathcare in the past in relation to multiple sclerosis.

Friday, 1 July 2011


What motivates Parkinson's disease patients to enter clinical trials? 
Valadas A, Coelho M, Mestre T et al.
Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2011 Jun 27

Important survey of patients to determine willingness and motivation to be involved in research into drug treatments against Parkinson's.

Plain English - LRRK2 G2019S Parkinson's disease with more benign phenotype than idiopathic

This research study compared patients with Parkinson's who carry the commonest gene mutation associated with the disease (called LRRK2),...