Over the past decade researchers at IND have developed and utilized dopamine transporter imaging in several studies to evaluate the diagnosis and monitor progression of Parkinson disease. In our studies, dopamine transporter imaging using SPECT discriminated between individuals with Parkinson disease and healthy subjects with a sensitivity of about 98%.
In addition to dopamine transporter imaging, several other imaging modalities evaluating neurochemical systems are under development. Neurochemical changes other than dopamine may be responsible for the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson disease including depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties and change in cognition. Understanding these neurochemical changes in the brain offers the opportunity to develop medications to improve both the motor and non-motor symptoms that occur in Parkinson disease.