Published Articles and Studies

Article Published about the Effect of Memory Clubs on Cognitive Function

Journal of Neurodegenerative Diseases Publishes Article by PRI Director

Parkinson Research Institute Article Published in Biological Systems: Open Access

PRI Article Named one of the "Top 6 Articles in Internal Medicine" by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Parkinson Research Institute Publishes Article in the December issue of the Southern Medical Journal 

Future Areas of Enquiry 

Prevalence of PD in the State of Wisconsin

Although statistics have been reported estimating the prevalence of PD, a county-by-county comparison of PD rates in the state of Wisconsin has yet to be undertaken. Knowledge about the prevalence of a disease is important for many reasons. First, it is important to have accurate prevalence statistics, since health-care policy, allocation of funding resources, and public health planning and dissemination of information are all reliant on such data.

Further, PD appears to be an under-diagnosed illness. Often, it is only until frank symptoms appear that most primary care physicians consider medical options that can improve the quality of life of patients. This is unfortunate because earlier treatment could contribute to better long-term outcomes.

Importantly, we know through outreach efforts originating from the Wisconsin Parkinson Association that there are specific areas within the state with atypically high rates of PD. Research collaborators at the Regional Parkinson Center have noted an unusually high number of persons who live in the Fox Valley River area who have PD. This observation points to the possibility that there may be environmental risk factors to which residents of Fox Valley have been exposed. To our knowledge, no such statewide study of PD has been conducted. 

Therefore, identifying areas throughout the state with high and low prevalence of PD, using solid epidemiological techniques, is germane. Mapping analysis will enable researchers to examine commonalities in these high-PD areas, such as environmental exposures, lifestyle factors, genetic factors, and background characteristics that may play a role in the etiology and onset of PD. 

County-by-county prevalence studies will provide the means to examine areas hardest hit by PD and give clues as to factors that might be responsible for the higher prevalence.

Identifying standards for palliative care in Parkinson disease and its effects on caregivers

The Regional Parkinson Center treats more than 5,700 Parkinson patients annually and estimates that approximately one patient per week dies of complications due to this progressive neurological disorder. Physicians and health-care providers lack guiding information on the palliative issues of chronic illness, especially in the end-of-life care for persons with PD. Collecting data from patients and caregivers would help to address specific questions about the availability and quality of palliative care for persons with PD and the impact that palliative support or lack of support has on caregiver stress.

Perception of functional improvements in PD symptoms as a result of posture and gait retaining therapy

PD is known to cause stooped posture, propulsive gait and retropulsion, all of which can cause injury from falls. When conducted, this study hopes to identify how PD patients may benefit from a gait and posture re-training program and to measure the duration of benefits that the patients experience.