RAPSODI is a pioneering new study that uses the internet to find new ways to diagnose Parkinson’s earlier. A gene called glucocerebrosidase (GBA) which causes the condition Gaucher disease has been found to be associated with a slightly higher risk of developing Parkinson’s much later in life, possibly after the age of 80. RAPSODI aims to use existing tests that have been successfully developed and are currently used in a sister study called PREDICT PD, that can identify clues that appear many years before the movement problems associated with Parkinson’s appear. Recent research suggests that problems including loss of smell, sleep and memory problems, constipation and anxiety may occur many years before the movement related problems of Parkinson’s appear. These problems are not specific to Parkinson’s, however by looking for combinations of them amongst large groups of people who we know carry the GBA, we believe that in due course we will be able to detect those in the very earliest stages of developing it. By using the internet we can include large numbers of people, who can take part from home, enabling us to process lots of information quickly, cheaply and efficiently. Over the past 4 years PREDICT PD has been using the internet to look for these patterns which may predict Parkinson’s amongst the general population. The information gained in the RAPSODI study will complement that obtained in PREDICT PD and together the two studies will allow an unparalleled insight into the way Parkinson’s develops at an early stage. The ultimate aim of this research is to develop new drug treatments that protect neurons many years before any damage or loss occurs helping everyone at risk of developing Parkinson’s.
Prof. Anthony Schapira
Head of Department of Clinical Neurosciences
UCL, Institute of Neurology
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