We have invested $1.2 million in funding of early-phase research that focuses on exercise, speech, movement and other factors that affect quality of life.

2011-12 Davis Phinney Foundation Funded Research

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Dr. Jay Alberts of the Cleveland Clinic and Drs. Bas Bloem and Marten Munneke from the UMC St. Radboud, Nijmegen, the Netherlands for the proposed grant: Brain training: Effects of Aerobic Exercise of Cognitive and Adaptive Plasticity in Parkinson’s Disease.

This study will examine the effects of exercise on cognitive and motor functioning in a group of newly diagnosed individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Participants in this project will exercise on a stationary exercise bicycle in their home that is linked to study coordinators. The overall goal of this project is to assess whether exercise is capable of potentially slowing the progression of Parkinson’s disease in patients who have not yet been treated with anti-parkinsonian medications. This study represents a preliminary project that will provide valuable pilot data for the submission of a larger multi-site randomized clinical trial. Read the Progress Report.

Drs. Lee Dibble, K. Bo Foreman (University of Utah), Jim Cavanaugh (University of New England), Gammon Earhart (Washington University in St. Louis), Terry Ellis (Boston University) and Matt Ford (University of Alabama at Birmingham) for their grant: CHOP PD:  Charting the Progression of Disability in Parkinson Disease.

While there appear to be clinically meaningful benefits of short-term exercise programs on persons with Parkinson disease (PD), claims regarding the long- term effects of exercise on disability are made without research support. The objective of this multicenter prospective study is to examine the 2-year trajectory of disability in a cohort of persons with PD. By describing the progression of disability, exercise habits, and physical activity, this investigation will establish an important foundation for future intervention research. Specifically, through the evaluation of the influence of sustained exercise and physical activity, the study is a critical step toward developing a randomized controlled trial of long-term exercise as a means of minimizing disability in persons with PD.

Read the Research Update on this work.

Publications related to this work:

Timothy Schallert, PhD, University of Texas
at Austin.  Treatment Implications for
Parkinson’s Disease.

People with Parkinson’s disease have trouble speaking clearly and audibly.  Monotone is often a serious problem that impacts quality of life.  This study focuses  on targeted sensorimotor training techniques that appear to dramatically improve functional and neural outcome.  As part of the study, the lab is developing animal models of slow progressive nigrostriatal dopamine terminal degeneration in rats that include gradual impairment in vocalization and fine motor control, in addition to walking and balance. This study will investigate whether neural degeneration and symptoms of fine motor control and balance can be slowed or even reversed with the right combination of early treatments.

Read the Research Update on this work.

Michael Thaut PhD, Ruth Rice DPT, Gerald McIntosh MD, The Center for Biomedical Reseach in Music -Colorado State University. Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS) for Prevention of Falls in Parkinson’s Disease.

Our study examines the effects of RAS as a gait training technique to prevent falls in persons with Parkinson’s disease. Persons with a history of falls in the 6 months prior to study initiation train for 8 weeks daily with RAS. After the initial 8 weeks, the control group stops training for 8 weeks and resumes RAS training for the final 8 weeks whereas the experimental group trains continuously for 24 weeks with RAS. Study participants are tested before the start of training and then after 8 weeks, 16 weeks, and 24 weeks. We are measuring basic gait data like velocity, stride length and step frequency as well as the number of fall incidences, a fear of falling survey, balance, and the kinematics of leg movements. We have aproximately 6 months left in the study. In a preliminary study with healthy elderly with a history of falls we found significant reductions during RAS training, with increases during the no-RAS period, accompanied by significant improvements in ankle joint movements.

Other Davis Phinney Foundation Funded Research

Charting the Progression of Disability in Parkinson disease: Study Protocol for a Prospective Longitudinal Cohort Study
L. E. Dibble1*†, J. T. Cavanaugh2†, G. M. Earhart3†, T. D Ellis4†, M. P. Ford5†, K. B. Foreman1†

A Functionally Relevant and Long-Term Model of Deep Brain Stimulation of the Rat Subthalamic Nucleus: Advantages and Considerations
A. L. Spieles-Engemann1,2, T. J. Collier3 and C. E. Sortwell3
1 Department of Neurology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45267, USA
2 The Neuroscience Graduate Program, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA
3 Translational Science and Molecular Medicine, Michigan State University, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, USA

Stimulation of the Rat Subthalamic Nucleus is Neuroprotective Following Significant Nigral Dopamine Neuron Loss
A.L. Spieles-Engemannae, M.M. Behbehanib, T.J. Collier, S.L. Wohlgenanta, K. Steece-Collier, K. Paumierae, B.F. Daleya, S. Gombashae, L. Madhavana, G.T. Mandyburc, J.W. Liptond, B.T. Terpstraa,e, C.E. Sortwella,⁎
a Department of Neurology at the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45267, USA
b Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45267, USA
c Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45267, USA
d Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45267, USA
e The Neuroscience Graduate Program at the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45267, USA

Optical Deconstruction of Parkinsonian Neural Circuitry
Viviana Gradinaru1,2*, Murtaza Mogri1*, Kimberly R. Thompson,1
Jaimie M. Henderson3, Karl Deisseroth1,4†
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a therapeutic option

Motivation to Exercise in People with Parkinson’s disease
M. Schenkman, H. Ene, and C. McCrae

Determinants of Exercise Behavior in Persons with Parkinson’s disease
T. Ellis1 2, G.M. Earhart3, M.P. Ford4, K.B. Foreman5, L. Fredman6, J.K. Boudreau1, L.E. Dibble5