Current Projects

The overall goal of the UMN Udall Center is to define the changes in brain circuitry that underlie the motor dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease and use this information to develop novel deep brain stimulation therapeutic approaches. The goal of this project is to gain a greater understanding of the mechanisms, locations and pathways mediating the effects (both adverse and beneficial) of pallidal DBS on clinical and quantitative measures of motor function, including speech.

This project is a longitudinal study in people recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease using ultra-high-field MRI to study the extent to which changes in the connectivity of the subthalamic nucleus accompany the development of motor and non-motor signs of the disease in humans.

NIH UO1 113851

The University of Minnesota is one of 27 sites across North America participating in the SPARX3 treadmill exercise study. The purpose of the SPARX3 study is to examine the effects of aerobic exercise on people diagnosed with early-stage, untreated Parkinson's disease. The study will compare the effects of moderate-intensity treadmill exercise to high-intensity treadmill exercise on the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

Continuous wearable monitor for the detection and release of Freezing of Gait

Parkinson’s disease affects more than one million Americans and its prevalence is expected double by 2040. One of the most treatment-resistance motor symptoms in PD is freezing of gait (FOG) which affects more than 30% of all patients with PD and is characterized by episodic impairments in the ability to initiate gait and the spontaneous arrest of movement during stepping. It is hypothesized that exogenous sensory cueing protocols initiated prior to, or in response to, the occurrence of FOG are likely to markedly reduce the incidence and duration of freezing episodes, facilitate gait initiation, and thus improve mobility and independence.

The goal of this project is to characterize the temporal evolution of neuroplastic changes in the structure and function of the brain in people with isolated rapid eye movement (REM) behavior sleep disorder and to identify factors contributing to the masking and/or emergence of motor and cognitive signs.

Past Projects

Pathway targeted deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease

Mechanisms of Movement Facilitation and Release by Cueing in Parkinson's disease

Predictors of progression to freezing of gait in Parkinson's disease