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
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
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.