Movement Disorders Program
Home.Facilities.Faculty.Clinical Trials.Patient Resources.Research.Contribute.Fellowship.

Clinical  and Translational Research


Several members of the Movement Disorders Faculty perform clinical research.  All studies are performed in the Neurology Department’s dedicated clinical trials center (JCNT and the Chen Center for Translational Research for Parkinson’s disease and Related Disorders).   A variety of studies are currently underway for Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, PSP and Cortical Basilar Degeneration.  Some of these studies are investigator initiated while others are industry sponsored.  Funding comes from a variety of sources including the NIH, foundations (e.g. Michael J Fox), and pharmaceutical companies.  Novel technologies are being developed such as transmagnetic stimulation (TMS, see Dr. Allan Wu) and new PET ligands (see Dr. Yvette Bordelon).  Dr. Indu Subramanian studies impulse control disorders associated with dopamine agonist therapy in collaboration with colleagues in psychology.


Basic Science Research

Researchers in the Movement Disorders Program work closely with several other investigators at UCLA.  We have 4 center grants that include a Udall Center (NIH), a Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Center (PADRECC from the VA), an APDA Center for Excellence Grant, and The Center for Gene-Environment Interactions (CGEP from the NIH: www.niehs.nih.gov/ccpder). We work under the umbrella group called the UCLA Center for the Study of Parkinson’s Disease (http://www.cspd.ucla.edu/) and are a very collaborative group led by Dr. Marie-Francoise Chesselet.  Details of these studies and researchers can be found at http://www.bri.ucla.edu/.


Epidemiology and Health Services Research

Genetic-Environmental Interactions. Dr. Beate Ritz is an M.D. who went back to school to earn a Ph.D. in epidemiology and quickly earned an international reputation in environmental and occupational health. She is leading a multidisciplinary project to study the relationship of pesticide exposure and genetics in the development of Parkinson’s disease. This is an exciting project since it brings the latest advances in the field to directly address the cause of this disorder. These studies have already produced many exciting findings having identified several toxins associated with PD, genetic polymorphisms that alter the risk of developing PD and interactions between the 2. A second goal is to start a Parkinson’s disease registry that will help many researchers around the country with their studies.

Health Services Research: Three members of the Southwest PADRECC (swpadrecc.neurology.ucla.edu), Barbara Vickrey, MD MPH, Eric Cheng, MD, MS, and Karen Connor PhD RN , have led a national group of neurology health services researchers in an initiative to develop benchmarks for high quality PD care, then apply those tools to measure and compare quality of care for PADRECC and non-PADRECC veterans.  Intervential studies are now underway.

Eric Cheng, MD, MS, and Barbara Vickrey, MD, MPH, have led a national group of neurology health services researchers in an initiative to develop benchmarks for high quality PD care, then apply those tools to measure and compare quality of care for PADRECC and non-PADRECC veterans.

1. Development of Quality of Care Indicators for Parkinson’s disease. This workgroup of health services researchers recently completed the development of a set of indicators for measuring the quality of care for patients with Parkinson’s disease. This team reviewed the medical literature on PD care, drafted a comprehensive set of quality indicators, and published their results in Movement Disorders (Cheng et al, 2004).

1. Measuring Quality of Care for Veterans with Parkinson’s disease. In the second phase of this ongoing study, Drs. Cheng and Vickrey are currently leading a project to conduct an explicit medical record review of care for veterans with PD in the Southwest PADRECC. The goal is to assess how frequently they receive care adherent to high-ranking quality indicators and to evaluate determinants of care quality. Ultimately, care for PADRECC patients will be compared to care for non-PADRECC veterans.

1. Measuring Health Outcomes and Care Delivery for Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Vickrey is heading another project (a pilot project funded by the VA Health Services Research & Development Service) to assess current levels of unmet need for veterans with PD across the Southwest PADRECC, and to compare different health-related quality of life outcome measures for PD.

Jeff Bronstein, M.D. Ph.D Research

Carlos Portera-Cailliau, M.D. Ph.D Research

Allan Wu, M.D. Research

Karen Connor Ph.D. RN Research






Contact Us
          Useful Links
Westwood Clinic
300 UCLA Medical Plaza
Suite B-200
Los Angeles, CA. 90095
Phone  (310) 206-9799
Fax (310) 206-9819
VA Clinic
11301 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone (310)478-3711 Ext 48001

Clinical Trials
Patient Resources


Copyright © All rights reserved made by UCLA Movement Disorder Program