Chapter funds cutting edge research at U of Chicago

The APDA-MC has awarded $25,000 to the APDA Center for Advanced Research at the University of Chicago.

 

By Dr. Un Jung Kang, Director, APDA Center for Advanced Research; Professor & Associate Chair, Neurology, University of Chicago


With government funds for scientific research continuing to shrink, we are especially thankful for APDA’s long term investment in our efforts to improve future clinical care. Last year, with the help of funds from the Midwest Chapter, we initiated two projects that are making exciting progress in several areas. These are:


  1.     Meeting the urgent need for simple, objective, inexpensive tests for early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of PD, and monitoring of disease progression.

    We now understand how DJ-1 protein can be secreted from brain cells to spinal fluid. We are developing a specialized blood test to detect this protein and its modified form. 

    We are also collecting DNA samples to find ways of predicting who has an increased risk of developing PD. 




  1.     Examining little known beneficial long term effects of dopaminergic medications, including carbidopa/levodopa (Sinemet).


    We discovered that active use of dominant hands in combination with carbidopa/levodopa produces the optimal long term benefit. This could be key to determining when to start symptomatic treatment and how exercise should be coordinated with medication treatment. 

In the coming year, we will recruit volunteers for a study  using a computerized motor learning task in PD patients with or without medication. We hope to show the interaction of practice and medication.


    Chapter funds also will advance our:


  1.     Examination of the long term effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS)surgery for PD.

  2.     Understanding of the mechanism of dyskinesia, and devising new therapeutic approaches to quiet this side effect of long term PD therapy.

“With government funds for scientific research continuing to shrink, we are especially thankful for APDA’s long term investment in our efforts to improve future clinical care.”
Dr. Un Jung Kang.