Focus on Parkinson's Disease Research

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 2015, the NINDS funded approximately $97 million out of a total of $146 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.

Tools & Resources

Parkinson's Disease Information Page

Parkinson's Disease: Hope Through Research

NINDS Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson's Disease

NIH Exploratory Trials in Parkinson’s Disease (NET-PD) - NET-PD is a series of clinical research studies funded by the NINDS that were conducted to find drugs to slow the progression of PD.

Parkinson's Disease Biomarkers Program - To overcome current roadblocks to better clinical trial design through improved assessment of Parkinson's disease progression across the disease spectrum, the PDBP will focus on building resources and supporting research that promotes the discovery of PD diagnostic and progression biomarkers.

Fox Trial Finder - Service created by The Michael J. Fox Foundation to help match volunteers with and without Parkinson's disease with clinical trials

Coriell Institute/NINDS Human Genetics DNA and Cell Line Repository

PD genetic studies in the NIH database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGAP)

Morris K. Udall Centers of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease Research


NINDS Parkinson's Disease 2014 Conference: Advancing Research, Improving Lives: To inform ongoing and future efforts in PD research, the NINDS organized the “PD2014” conference (January 6-7, 2014). At this public meeting, participants assessed significant challenges and identified the highest research priorities for advancing basic, translational and clinical research on PD. The research recommendations and access to the archived meeting webcast are available.