Standard practice in neurology uses imaging, such as magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, of brain structures to make a diagnosis. But in Parkinson’s disease (PD), additional imaging technologies are needed since MRI is not particularly helpful to make the diagnosis. Recent studies have turned to brain imaging using new technological tools, looking for ways to better assess the disease, predict its progression, and evaluate potential drugs to treat it or slow its progression. Biomarkers that can be seen in this type of brain imaging can be physical structures or biochemical signals, and researchers believe some correlate with the motor abilities of people with PD. Dr. Jon Stoessl of the University of British Columbia in Canada uses positron emission tomography, or PET scans, to research chemical biomarkers in the brain, such as dopamine, for these purposes.
- What's Hot in PD? The Importance of Imaging Biomarkers to Diagnose and Track Parkinson’s Disease Progression (blog)
- One Year Later: Catching up With Parkinson’s Foundation Research Grantee Hengyi Rao, PhD (blog)
About This Episode
Released: May 7, 2019
A. Jon Stoessl is Professor & Head of Neurology and Co-Director of the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health at UBC. He holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Parkinson’s, is Deputy Editor of Movement Disorders and sits on numerous other editorial boards including Lancet Neurology. He chairs the Scientific Advisory Board of the Parkinson’s Foundation and is President of the World Parkinson Coalition and a Member of the Order of Canada. Dr. Stoessl uses positron emission tomography to study Parkinson’s, including imaging biomarkers, the basis for complications of treatment and mechanisms of the placebo effect.
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For more insights on this topic, listen to our podcast episode “Understanding Biomarkers to Deliver Precise Treatments.”