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Parkinson’s Disease Patients Needed for Functional Imaging Study of Levodopa Effects on Cognition

Although Parkinson’s disease (PD) is mostly a movement disorder, some patients with PD have cognitive symptoms, including problems with attention and working memory. Working memory is the ability to hold and control information in short-term memory. It is essential for thought processes such as language, planning and problem solving. This research study is examining how PD and PD medications, specifically levodopa, affect the parts of the brain that are involved in working memory, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). fMRI is a procedure that uses MR (magnetic resonance) imaging to measure the tiny changes in blood flow that take place in an active part of the brain. The study requires patients to have two fMRI scans of the brain, one when “on” or medicated and one when “off” or unmedicated, while performing tasks that require memorization of letters of the alphabet shown on a screen.  Each scanning session will last approximately 1 hour.

Eligible patients will be 40 – 80 years of age, be treated with and responsive to levodopa (Sinemet), and will have not changed their PD medications for 3 months prior to study.

If you are interested in participating in this study or would like additional information, please contact:

Stephanie Sendek, Clinical Study Coordinator, Parkinson’s Disease Research Unit, Thomas Jefferson University: Phone (215) 955-8700 or email stephanie.sendek@jefferson.edu.