What’s New in Parkinson’s: August 2020

Parkinson's August News - Davis Phinney Foundation

As August draws to a close, we hope you’re able to look back in gratitude on the experiences you’ve had, people you’ve met (even if virtually), and the choices you’ve made to live well. We’ve rounded up some of the most important articles, podcasts, research, and living well stories that hit the news this month for you to peruse. Let us know if we missed anything important. Happy reading!

Parkinson’s Articles and Podcasts

Parkinson’s Therapies and Medications

  • Researchers have found that people with early-stage Parkinson’s who received both medication and Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) performed much better on a number of outcome metrics as compared to people who only received medication. This suggests that the early implementation of DBS can reduce the severity of Parkinson’s progression several years later. In a similar study, working-age people with early-stage Parkinson’s who received DBS demonstrated better social, occupational, and psychosocial functioning than those who only received medication.
  • Modag’s small molecule drug anle138b has been shown to be safe and tolerable in a Phase 1 trial and is now progressing to further clinical trials for the treatment of Parkinson’s and multiple system atrophy (MSA), with support from the Michael J. Fox Foundation. The drug, which is taken orally, targets alpha-synuclein clumps to reduce further neurodegeneration.
  • Similarly, Denali and Biogen are moving into more clinical trials for their small molecule drug DNL151 following their Phase 1/1b trials. The drug is intended as an LRRK2 inhibitor that would act to restore lysosomal function and slow the progression of Parkinson’s.
  • Researchers have developed a low-cost, portable, highly-sensitive method of detecting levels of dopamine in sweat. The technology is intended to be useful in diagnosing Parkinson’s and other diseases characterized by abnormal levels of dopamine.
  • Researchers from IBM, Pfizer, Boston University, and Tufts Medical Center have recently completed a study using wearable devices and AI algorithms to measure the severity of tremors in people with Parkinson’s. By building a database to measure Parkinson’s severity and comparing people’s data to the algorithms, the technology has the potential to help providers adjust care plans and medications more precisely.
  • A different kind of new computer model uses machine learning to perform vocal analysis on people with Parkinson’s. By regularly monitoring their speech patterns, the study demonstrated proof of concept of the idea that at-home, non-invasive, regular monitoring of changes in speech can be used to track the progression of Parkinson’s.
  • BouNDless is moving into Phase 3 clinical trials of a continuous subcutaneous infusion of a treatment that would act as an alternative to oral carbidopa/levodopa. Find out if you qualify to participate in the study here!
  • Mannitol, an over-the-counter sweetener supplement, has been of interest in terms of treating Parkinson’s for several years. However, an online crowd research platform promoting the supplement and a recent Phase 2a clinical study on mannitol in Israel are bringing it to the forefront of the Parkinson’s world again. A 2013 study demonstrated that mannitol could inhibit the aggregation of alpha-synuclein, but the sweetener’s effects are nonetheless controversial and require further study.
  • Levodopa-carbidopa intestinal gel (LCIG) has been shown to have differing effects on the prevalence and severity of dyskinesia. In particular, a recent study demonstrates that women experience increased rates of troublesome dyskinesia, highlighting the importance of careful monitoring.
  • Novant Health has become the first health center in the South Atlantic US to offer MR-guided focused ultrasound, a non-invasive therapy that uses soundwaves to relieve tremor.
  • Samba and Forró, two forms of rhythmic Brazilian dance, have been shown to be as effective as walking at improving functional mobility and gait in people with Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s Living Well Stories

  • An 11-year-old girl from Florida is teaming up with several big names in music to raise money to support people with Parkinson’s in an effort she’s calling “Parkin-Song.”
  • The Parkinson’s Foundation has expanded its virtual programming to encompass a number of events this fall that people with Parkinson’s can join remotely, including Fall Moving Day, PD Health @ Home programs, and Parkinson’s Champion’s @ Home fundraising events.
  • An artist with Parkinson’s from Ohio recently completed a memorial portrait of a young boy who was tragically killed earlier this month, stating that the family’s loss inspired him to finish the piece and helped him combat his Parkinson’s symptoms.
  • Check out AARP’s Walk Audit Worksheets and turn your daily walk around the neighborhood into a catalyst for change in your community! By noticing who’s using the street, what you think is working well, and what could be improved, you can help make your streets accessible for everyone. Plus, the worksheets are available in English and Spanish.
  • A man from Victoria recently completed yet another 200-km ride to fundraise for Parkinson’s, touting the importance of physical activity, especially cycling, for people with Parkinson’s.
  • The Parkinson’s Association of San Diego moved its annual Step by Step 5K to a virtual format, raising over $100,000 and attracting over 60 teams.
  • The Scientist is hosting a webinar on September 17 about genetic contributions to Parkinson’s and how alpha-synuclein and glia are involved, featuring speaker Abby Olsen, MD, PhD, a neurologist and neurology instructor at Harvard Medical School.
  • Rock Steady Boxing is continuing to inspire success stories, including for people with Parkinson’s from O’Fallon, Illinois.
  • The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s annual run/walk event is moving online! Join your Parkinson’s community virtually on October 3 to exercise and fundraise for Parkinson’s research and treatments.

Parkinson’s Surveys and Clinical Trials

If you’d like to be part of early research efforts that are looking into the efficacy of service dogs for those living with Parkinson’s, you can take this survey here.

Parkinson’s and Service Dogs – University of Groningen, Netherlands

Neurology Study Interest Registry – University of Rochester

Park Test – University of Rochester

Project Euphonia – LSVT Global and Project Euphonia

BouNDless – Phase 3 trial to investigate the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of ND0612, a continuous subcutaneous levodopa/carbidopa delivery system in comparison to oral levodopa/carbidopa in people with Parkinson’s experiencing motor fluctuations

Want More Practical Articles Like This?

Much more can be found in our Every Victory Counts® manual. It’s packed with up-to-date information about everything Parkinson’s, plus an expanded worksheets and resources section to help you put what you’ve learned into action. Request your free copy of the Every Victory Counts manual by clicking the button below.

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Thank you to our 2020 Peak Partners, Amneal and Kyowa Kirin, with special support from Adamas, for helping us make printing, distributing, and shipping the Every Victory Counts manual possible.

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