Parkinson's Disease and Monoaminergic Function in the Central Nervous System

Principal Investigator: 
Award Type: 

Leader:

Members:

  • Michael Adam, PhD
    University of British Columbia
  • Doris Doudet, PhD, DERHB
    University of British Columbia
  • Stephen Marion, MD
    University of British Columbia
  • Martin McKeown, MD, FRCPC
    University of British Columbia
  • Anthony Phillips, PhD
    University of British Columbia
  • Thomas Ruth, PhD
    Simon Fraser University
  • Michael Schulzer, MD, PhD
    University of British Columbia
  • Vesna Sossi, PhD
    University of British Columbia
  • Kay Teschke, PhD
    University of British Columbia
  • Joseph Tsui, MD
    University of British Columbia
  • Lakshmi Yatham, MD, MRC, FRCPC
    University of British Columbia

The MSFHR Research Unit in Parkinson’s disease and monoaminergic function in the Central Nervous System brings together clinical and basic neuroscientists, epidemiologists, imaging scientists and chemists, all focused on a better understanding of Parkinson’s disease, its complications, and related disorders such as depression and addictive behaviours. The group aims to capitalize on the information derived from studying each of these problems to learn about the others. The team’s research addresses three overarching questions:

  1. What causes Parkinson’s Disease?
  2. What are the underlying mechanisms that contribute to complications of advanced disease and long-term treatment?
  3. How can we use PD as a model to better understand the neurobiology of dopamine and other monoaminergic systems in the brain, in health and disease?

The majority of research within this unit relates to functional imaging—the use of sophisticated imaging technologies to see neuron structure and measure brain activity and function. MSFHR infrastructure funding will primarily be used to support two aspects of the imaging program: Tomograph implementation and maintenance – Funding will support highly trained personnel to maintain and implement optimal imaging protocols for the unit’s high quality of state-of-the-art imaging instrumentation.

Software development – New equipment and new studies require the development of software to support research activities. In addition, the Centre will hire an administrator to assist the team with preparing multiple grants, financial tracking and recruitment of staff and trainees.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, estimated to affect 100,000 Canadians. PD is a progressive disease associated with the destruction of brain cells that produce dopamine, a monoamine neurotransmitter. The disease causes slowed movements, tremor, rigidity, and a wide variety of other symptoms. The direct and indirect costs of PD are estimated to be at least $2.5 billion annually. The neurobiology of Parkinson’s disease has also shown a strong correlation to other brain disorders involving dysfunction of monoamine neurotransmitters. Research has suggested a neurological basis for high rates of depression among individuals with PD. Another disorder that occurs among a small percentage of PD patients is uncontrollable gambling and other addictive behaviours, linked to a class of drugs commonly used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Each of these neurological and psychiatric problems represents a major health care problem.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, estimated to affect 100,000 Canadians. This Unit brings together clinical and basic neuroscientists, epidemiologists, imaging scientists and chemists, all focused on developing a better understanding of Parkinson’s disease, its complications, and other neurological disorders related to dysfunction of monoamine neurotransmitters, including depression and addictive behaviours.

Health Category: 
Host Institution: 
University of British Columbia
Research Location: 
University of British Columbia
Year: 
2006