New Grant Aims to Improve California’s Parkinson’s Disease Registry

The Michael J. Fox Foundation has awarded a grant of $750,000 to researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles for their work to improve the Parkinson’s disease registry in their state. Their aim is to make the registry more efficient and helpful to both medical professionals and patients.

About Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that affects the central nervous system (CNS). It is characterized by its effect on movement through five different stages. As the disease progresses, severity increases.

  • Stage one is characterized by subtle tremors on one side of the body.
  • In stage two symptoms are more noticeable, with tremors and rigidity on both sides of the body.
  • Stage three brings loss of balance and slow movement.
  • Stage four makes it impossible for one to live independently.
  • Stage five is the most severe, as patients cannot stand or walk. Hallucinations and delusions are common symptoms of this stage.

Parkinson’s disease occurs due to the death of motor neurons, some of which produce dopamine. Dopamine is important in the transmittance of messages to the muscles from the brain, so the loss of dopamine results in the loss of motor functions. Abnormal brain activity occurs when these neurons are lost. Doctors do not know why these motor neurons die, but they do suspect a few factors that play a role, such as genetics, environmental factors like toxins, and Lewy bodies.

About the Registry

This grant is intended to help the UCLA researchers redesign California’s electronic health record system so that collecting data for the California Parkinson’s Disease Registry is easier and faster. They are focusing specifically on diagnostic and treatment data.

Data on the location and prevalence of Parkinson’s cases will also give medical professionals a better understanding of the disease’s risk and impact. To accomplish this goal, neurologists, physicians, and information science experts will all be a part of this project.

A major step that all of these medical professionals are taking is establishing standards on how to report diagnoses. They will work to make sure that a diagnosis is reported early and accurately. In an effort to improve patient care, questionnaires will be given to patients and reported to the electronic health record system.

Hopefully all of the work that is being done will not only improve the registry, but it will improve patients’ experience when they are being diagnosed and receiving treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

Find out more here.

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