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Parkinson's Disease Research Web Overview


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive movement disorder that affects the lives of at least one half million patients across the United States. The average onset of characteristic motor symptoms, which are initially subtle and impact purposeful movement, occurs in the sixth decade. People with PD also experience significant non-motor symptoms including changes in cognition and mood, sleep disturbances, and autonomic dysfunction. Currently available pharmacological and surgical treatments provide relief from some motor symptoms, but do not halt the ultimate progression of the disease. Although significant research advances have been made, including the recent identification of possible environmental and genetic risk factors for PD, further research is required to elucidate underlying causes of PD and to discover improved treatments.

At the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the NINDS is the primary institute supporting PD research: in fiscal year 2012, the NINDS funded approximately $98 million out of a total of $154 million in NIH-supported PD research. The NINDS supports basic, translational and clinical research programs through a variety of mechanisms, including the Morris K. Udall Centers of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease Research and the Parkinson's Disease Biomarkers Program (PDBP). As part of our mission to decrease the burden of neurological disease, and building upon a strong foundation of research discovery, the NINDS is committed to the rapid translation of basic research findings into clinical practice.

The purpose of this NINDS website is twofold:  to provide PD-related information and resources for  researchers as well as for persons with PD, caregivers and families. Because the interests of the research and patient communities are overlapping yet distinct, the site contains separate web pages directed toward these two communities. For example, regarding funding for PD research, researchers will find information on relevant research funding opportunities, and people with PD can access information on currently funded NINDS and NIH projects.

For questions or comments about this website and Parkinson’s Disease research funded by the NINDS, please contact Beth-Anne Sieber, Ph.D. sieberb@ninds.nih.gov

NINDS Staff Contacts

Point of Contact for Parkinson's Disease:

Neurodegeneration Program Cluster:

Neurogenetics Program Cluster:

Office of Clinical Research:

Systems and Cognitive Neuroscience Program Cluster:

Last updated April 15, 2014