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Barbara Fussell RN


†††††††††† For Immediate Release





ó    Michael J. Fox Foundation sponsored study seeks people in New Haven area without Parkinsonís disease to participate in landmark biomarker study ó


NEW HAVEN, CT May 30, 2013 óThe Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders (IND) announced that it will participate as one of 23 official clinical sites of the Parkinsonís Progression Markers Initiativeís new arm to study at-risk populations for Parkinsonís disease (PD). The $55 million landmark observational clinical study launched in 2010 to define one or more biomarkers of PD and now seeks to better understand potential risk factors of the disease. IND has been part of PPMI for three years and is expected to begin enrollment for the new, pre-motor arm of the study in the spring of 2013.


The pre-motor arm of PPMI will enroll participants who do not have Parkinsonís disease and are living with one of three potential risk factors for PD: a reduced sense of smell (hyposmia); rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (RBD); or a mutation in the LRRK2 gene (the single greatest genetic contributor to PD known to date). Validating these risk factors could not only enable earlier detection of the disease, but open new avenues in the quest for therapies that could slow or stop disease progression.


ďUnderstanding risk factors for Parkinsonís disease could help to identify therapies that may prevent the onset of motor symptoms in future generations of PD patients,Ē said Danna Jennings MD, director of research at IND. ďThe Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders is proud to participate in this innovative research and will look to the local community for volunteers who do not have a diagnosis of Parkinson disease to participate in the prodromal or prediagnostic cohort being added to the PPMI study .Ē


Locals can easily get involved in this research by being one of 10,000 individuals needed to complete a brief online survey ( about your sense of smell. People over the age of 60 who do not have Parkinsonís disease are needed to take the survey. Most respondents will be sent a scratch-and-sniff smell test and brief questionnaire in the mail to be completed at home. Some individuals may also be asked to undergo more extensive testing.


ďIn the third year of PPMI, it is evident that a large-scale biomarker study is not only possible in Parkinsonís disease, but is already yielding scientific insights that could help transform the field of Parkinsonís research,Ē said Todd Sherer, PhD, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsonís Research. ďNone of this progress would be possible without the willing volunteers who donate their time and energy to the pursuit of a cure.Ē

About The Parkinsonís Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI)

The Parkinsonís Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) is a $55-million international clinical study sponsored by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsonís Research and funded by a consortium of 13 industry partners in conjunction with MJFF. Launched in 2010, PPMI aims to find reliable and consistent biomarkers of Parkinsonís disease (PD) progression. The study is testing todayís most promising biomarker candidates through neuroimaging, the collection of blood, urine, and spinal fluid, and clinical and behavioral tests. Valid measures could allow scientists to predict, objectively diagnose and monitor diseases in both Parkinsonís disease patients and populations at-risk to developing Parkinsonís.In April 2013, PPMI completed the recruitment of 400 newly diagnosed PD patients and 200 control subjects and announced the addition of a new arm to investigate potential risk factors of the disease. Using the same infrastructure and protocols, the pre-motor arm of PPMI is evaluating three at-risk cohorts: individuals with decreased sense of smell (hyposmia), people diagnosed with REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), and those with a LRRK2 genetic mutation (the single greatest genetic contributor known to date).


For information about enrolling in PPMI, please contact, Barbara Fussell RN, Director of Outreach by calling 800-401-6067 or by e mail ( can also get involved online by going to


About The Michael J. Fox Foundation

As the worldís largest private funder of Parkinsonís research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinsonís disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinsonís patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers.In addition to funding more than $325 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinsonís research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; increases the flow of participants into Parkinsonís disease clinical trials with its online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinsonís awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world.

For more information, visit us on Facebook, Twitter, Web and LinkedIn.


About: The Institute For Neurodegenerative Disorders

The Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders (IND), founded in 2001, is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit research institute based in New Haven, Connecticut. Its team of expert researchers includes neurologists, nurses, study coordinators, neuropsychologists, and nuclear medicine specialists working together to accomplish INDís mission.

The mission at IND is to advance the development of diagnostic tools and new treatments for patients with Parkinson disease and other neurodegenerative conditions through clinical research. We are developing advanced brain imaging techniques to make an accurate diagnosis and monitor disease progression. Additionally, we utilize our extensive clinical experience to enhance the care and availability of treatments.

IND staff provides educational programs for community neurologists, caregivers, future physicians at Yale, and patient support groups. We envision a future in which research provides methods of early detection and effective treatment and ultimately the prevention of these neurologic conditions.