Our Parkinson’s research program is uniquely focused on improving quality of life. Annually, we partner with leading researchers and institutions to fund quality of life research that shows promise to help change how people live with Parkinson’s. 

Guided by our Science Advisory Board, the Davis Phinney Foundation has supported more than 30 research studies focused on exercise, nutrition, gait, speech, telemedicine, alternative therapies, and other interventions that affect quality of life. Many of these studies have progressed to late-stage clinical research. Others have gone on to receive NIH and PCORI funding. And others have become therapies that are being used today by people living with Parkinson’s.

You can help make groundbreaking research happen. Contribute to our research fund to help us continue to make discoveries that improve the lives of people living with Parkinson’s.

Led by Experts

We are pleased to work with leading experts in quality of life research to change what it means to live with Parkinson’s. We work closely with innovative thinkers both through the work we fund and as advisors.

Rutgers University

“I firmly believe that all people with Parkinson’s can live an amazing and meaningful life, even with the physical and emotional challenges that often accompany the day-to-day. In my opinion, it is not a question of IF a person can live a good life with Parkinson’s, it’s a question of HOW a person can live a good life with Parkinson’s, starting NOW!”

Triad Health AI

“I think back to the early days of the Foundation and the kind of research that it was funding, including Dr. Alberts’ seminal tandem bicycle study. That was the first time I really remember any organization willing to start the conversation about things that people living with Parkinson’s could do right now to take some control and improve their day-to-day quality-of-life.”

Research Timeline

For more than a decade, we have supported innovative research, often investing in early-stage research ideas that have gone on to grow and make a huge impact on how people live with Parkinson’s. Scroll down to learn more and click on a study to read more about it.

We funded early studies on deep brain stimulation (DBS), including projects on novel surgical techniques for placement, the impact of DBS on balance and gait, and the neurological mechanisms underlying the therapeutic benefits.
The CHOP PD study established an important foundation for future intervention research by showing that people who do not exercise in the first two years following a Parkinson’s diagnosis experience a steeper decline in quality of life than those who do exercise.
Looking at rhythmic auditory stimulation and gait training, researchers showed that an in-home program could reduce incidence of falling, as well as increase speed of walking and length of steps, both predictors of falling.
In this groundbreaking study, the research team showed that aerobic exercise has the strong potential to slow Parkinson’s progression in newly diagnosed individuals who have not yet been treated with anti-Parkinson's medications.
Evaluating the feasibility, acceptability, and impact of connecting people with Parkinson’s with specialists via telemedicine, the RACE-PD study played a key role in making the vision of providing expert care using technology a reality.
This study confirmed that tai chi, a type of exercise that integrates motor and non-motor functions, has the potential to improve motor function, depression, and quality of life for people with Parkinson’s.
In a study researching the impact of vocal fold augmentation using a short-acting injectable gel that can last up to three months, participants experienced improved loudness, voice quality, and intelligibility after treatment.
Now in progress in a real-life setting, the Pedaling for Parkinson’s™ study is evaluating researchers’ prediction that community cycling classes––such as the existing, low-cost program often hosted by YMCAs––can slow the progression of Parkinson’s.
Blood flow restriction (BFR) training is a novel way to deliver resistance exercise to people with more advanced Parkinson's. BFR uses an external cuff to partially occlude blood flow of an exercising limb, causing muscle hypoxia and triggering anaerobic metabolism even at low intensities (20-30% of 1-repetition max).

You can help make groundbreaking research like this happen. Contribute to our research fund to help us continue to make discoveries that improve the lives of people living with Parkinson’s.


Learn about the latest in quality of life research by checking out the resources below.

Clear Filters
What’s New in Parkinson’s: April 2024


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