To commemorate the first day of Parkinson’s Awareness Week 2012, a charity has announced the launch of the world’s biggest ever study into the disease.
It is hoped the in-depth study, which will track the progress of patients with Parkinson’s disease, will reveal currently unknown secrets of the disease.
The research team will then be looking to improve and develop both the diagnosis methods and treatments of the degenerative condition.
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Parkinson’s UK is now looking for 3,000 people to take part in the study, mainly those that have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease within the last three years.
They are also seeking patients that were diagnosed with the condition when they were under the age of 50 and the siblings of both sets of participants.
The patients taking part in Tracking Parkinson’s will have symptoms of the disease – things like forgetfulness, anxiety and movement problems – monitored for a five year period.
Dr Donald Grosset, who is leading the study, is aiming to identify biomarkers for Parkinson’s disease, so that one day a blood test may be all it takes to pinpoint the illness.
Commenting on the launch of the study, he said: “The cure for Parkinson’s is a global challenge and all the samples gathered from our thousands of volunteers will be available for analysis by researchers the world over.
“This, in itself, will speed up our ultimate goal – to develop a cure for Parkinson’s.
“I am very excited to be leading this cutting edge research collaborating with top researchers from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.”
As the research project progresses there are plans for it to be linked to 35 to 40 healthcare centres across the UK.
Meanwhile Dr Kieran Breen, Parkinson’s UK’s Director of Research and Innovation, added: “Studies like ‘Tracking Parkinson’s’ could make a huge difference and help us to ultimately find a cure.
“Identifying biomarkers is key and would revolutionise the diagnosis and management of Parkinson’s.
“Finding a cure for Parkinson’s is like building a gigantic jigsaw, but we still have a number of the pieces missing,” he said.
“This vital new study will help us fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge.
“We hope Tracking Parkinson’s will also help us to identify people who have a greater ‘risk‘ of developing Parkinson’s and we can monitor them more accurately.”
Those looking for more information on taking part in Tracking Parkinson’s can contact Parkinson’s UK on 0808 800 0303 or visit www.parkinsons.org.uk/tracking.
Alternatively patients can contact Glasgow University, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 0141 232 7846.
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