The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the vital role of scientific research. In this blog we draw parallels between the science of the pandemic and Parkinson’s.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted people’s lives globally and with it has brought scientific discovery and discussions to the forefront of our minds. We have been inundated with information and updates, among this being scientific terms and processes for finding hopeful new treatments and prevention strategies. The foundation of these ideas and processes are not new, but the speed and urgency of the global response to developing, testing and approving a vaccine has been unprecedented.

During this challenging time Parkinson’s UK have been, and continue to be, dedicated to offering support to those living with Parkinson’s. …


The Parkinson’s UK Brain Bank is evolving — using technology to help piece together the mysteries of Parkinson’s deep within the brain.

Research into Parkinson’s has come a long way in the past couple of decades and is primed to deliver better treatments to improve symptoms and find a way to slow or stop Parkinson’s. But there are still pieces of the puzzle to uncover to help understand what’s happening inside the brains of those who have Parkinson’s compared to those who don’t. The Parkinson’s UK Brain Bank has a vital role to play in this quest for knowledge.

Technology also has an important role in accelerating research discoveries. Not only is it helping to improve the way we measure the condition…


Researchers show changes in vision could predict the development of thinking and memory problems in people with Parkinson’s.

Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

You may have heard the saying, ‘eyes are the windows to the soul’, but could they also be a ‘window’ to the brain. New research has shown that vision tests in people with Parkinson’s could help predict those at higher risk of thinking and memory problems.

Parkinson’s is a complex condition that has a wide range of symptoms, which can vary from one person to the next. One of the biggest challenges is predicting how the condition will progress in different people. If we could spot warning signs of cognitive changes early, then we’d be able to provide better treatment…


We met with Dr Dayne Beccano-Kelly to find out how he is accelerating the search for better treatments for Parkinson’s and dedicated to improving diversity in research.

Parkinson’s is a hugely variable condition where symptoms can be very different from one person to the next, making it complex to research. We’ve come on leaps and bounds, continually building on our understanding of Parkinson’s, and progress is being made in the development of better treatments. However, what has been limited and largely missing in research to date is understanding the role of ethnicity, with regard to the presentation, progression, symptom management and treatment of the condition.

You can read more about research into ethnicity and Parkinson’s and its limitations in a previous blog post.

We met with Dr…


Balance and falls are a major concern for people with Parkinson’s. Find out how new research aims to address this through the use of an easy to use handheld device.

The brain cells that are affected by Parkinson’s have a vital job to do. They release important chemicals that tell the body how to function. You may have heard of dopamine before, but one of the other chemicals released by these brain cells is called acetylcholine.

We know that acetylcholine is involved in memory, thinking and walking. And researchers believe that changes in acetylcholine levels, caused by the gradual loss of brain cells, may contribute to why people with Parkinson’s are at increased risk of falling.

Balance is such a huge issue that, when over 1000 people with Parkinson’s, their…


It’s more than just drugs that are being investigated to find better treatments for Parkinson's. We take a look at some of the devices that are currently in clinical trials.

What if the next exciting treatment for Parkinson’s isn’t a new pill? What if a headset or handheld device could control specific symptoms of Parkinson’s or even help to slow its progression?

Technology has a growing role to play in the monitoring of our health and wellbeing in the 21st century. Health data is at our fingertips with wearables such as watches that monitor heart rate, tech you can take home to encourage exercise and apps that help people to manage their mood. So it is not surprising that cutting edge technology is being harnessed in medical research.

In Parkinson’s…


Focused ultrasound has potential as a non-invasive treatment for Parkinson’s. We chat to Professor Wladyslaw Gedroyc, Consultant Radiologist at Imperial College, to find out the latest.

Photo by Miikka Luotio on Unsplash

Most people with Parkinson’s will use medication to help control their symptoms, but for some, over time, medications alone may no longer be enough to control symptoms. This is when specialists may look towards surgical options. Currently deep brain stimulation (DBS) offers the main surgical way to control movement symptoms of Parkinson’s.

This type of surgery involves inserting fine wires into the brain to be controlled by a pulse generator (a device like a heart pacemaker) that is placed under the skin around the chest or stomach area. When the pulse generator is switched on, the electrodes deliver high frequency…


A phase 3 trial is underway aiming to manage sudden blood pressure changes in conditions such as Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s has many symptoms, and people’s experience of the condition can vary greatly. But, while it is clear that many symptoms are caused by Parkinson’s, there are also some symptoms that you may not realise are connected. One of these is sudden drops in blood pressure when standing up, changing position or being on your feet for a long period of time. This particular symptom is referred to as orthostatic hypotension, where hypotension means low blood pressure. You may also have seen it being referred to as postural hypotension or postural drop. …


Fiona shares her experience of taking part in a study of a new experimental treatment — involving overnight stays and various assessments, including lumbar punctures. The next phase of the trial is now on the horizon.

The end of 2019 saw the start of the latest phase of research looking to investigate DNL151, a new type of drug called a LRRK2 inhibitor. The drug works by targeting a key protein called LRRK2 that is hyperactive in Parkinson’s. Reducing the activity of this protein has the potential to slow the progression of the condition, something no current treatment can do.

The phase 1b study was the first time that the treatment was tested in people with Parkinson’s and focused on assessing the safety and tolerability of DNL151. …


A phase 2 trial of an experimental drug that aimed to treat the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s and reduce side effects of levodopa has shown disappointing results.

Photo by James Yarema on Unsplash

Most treatments for Parkinson’s work to mimic or replace the dopamine — a chemical messenger that those with the condition are lacking. The most commonly used medication for Parkinson’s, levodopa, works in this way. But while there are many ways this medication has been improved over the years, levodopa cannot always fully manage symptoms and can cause troublesome side effects.

Side effects of Parkinson’s medication
As the symptoms of Parkinson’s progress, people may experience wearing off of their medication before the next dose is taken. During these times people may feel particularly stiff and slow. …

Dr Katherine Fletcher

Research Communications Officer

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