Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement.

Generally, symptoms are first noticed as disorders of movement, such as a resting tremor and slowness of movement. However, Parkinson’s will often include other symptoms, with non-motor symptoms including cognitive impairment and pain. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease. Every hour, someone in the UK is told they have Parkinson’s disease. There is currently no definitive diagnostic test and no cure. Research into treatments is vital to enable a cure.

Our research

Diagnosis and biomarkers

This research includes development of a non-invasive diagnostic test using biomarkers that may have the ability to diagnose early Parkinson’s disease, possibly even before physical symptoms appear. Other work in this area includes developing a simple skin swab test for Parkinson’s disease, which we developed after Joy Milne, a retired nurse from Edinburgh, proved to us that she could smell Parkinson’s disease.

Improved treatments

This research includes improving deep brain stimulation (DBS) treatment for Parkinson’s disease. The Greater Manchester DBS programme is currently led by our theme lead Monty Silverdale, providing the ability to access and improve this pathway. We also run several Parkinson’s disease drug trials.

Investigating non-motor symptoms

This research focuses specifically on pain as a symptom. This is a common but under-recognised symptom of Parkinson’s disease.

Understanding how Parkinson’s disease affects movement

Our research focuses on understanding how the brain controls movement and how this goes wrong in Parkinson’s disease. We use various techniques to assess this, including recording brain signals from people during movement and walking.