PREDICT-PD Principal Investigators Alastair Noyce (left) and Anette Schrag (right)

PREDICT-PD is a ground-breaking project using simple tests to identify people at higher risk of Parkinson’s disease before the symptoms appear.

We spoke to the two Principal Investigators Alastair Noyce and Anette Schrag (pictured) to find out more.

What are the main aims of the study?

Parkinson’s is the second most common degenerative disease of the brain after Alzheimer’s disease. It results in a range of movement and non-movement problems, and many people with Parkinson’s develop dementia.

The number of people getting Parkinson’s is growing faster than any neurological condition. It is estimated that it will affect 14 million people worldwide by 2040.

Once a diagnosis of Parkinson’s is made, there is no cure. There are only treatments to reduce the symptoms.

Previous research suggests that problems including loss of sense of smell, sleep problems, constipation, cognitive problems, anxiety and depression may happen many years before the movement problems of Parkinson’s occur.

PREDICT-PD study logo

The PREDICT-PD team believes that if predictions can be made regarding who is going to get Parkinson’s, treatments may become available for those in the early stages.

This could slow or prevent the condition progressing – which would be a major step forwards towards a cure. It could also have huge knock-on implications for dementia and other age-related diseases of the brain.

What does it involve for a participant?

Taking part in the study is very straightforward. If you are interested you can register online.

Once registered on the PREDICT-PD website, participants need to verify their accounts and set up a profile. We ask for a contact telephone number, and NHS number, so that we can continue to keep in touch if email addresses change.

Participants will then be able to log into the website to complete the short survey (about 20 minutes long) and the following short tests:

  • Memory test
  • Keyboard tapping test
  • Two trail-making tests

The whole process should take about 30 minutes.

Participants will be invited to complete the online tests on an annual basis.

How long is the study for?

We’re aiming to recruit a total of 10,000 participants, who we’ll follow until June 2021 in the first instance.

What do you hope the outcomes of the study will be?

The study will help us to develop a risk calculator, so that we can identify people who are in the earliest phase of Parkinson’s. These people could then take part in drug trials or studies to find disease markers.

It will also help us to monitor the range of events taking place before a Parkinson’s diagnosis is given. This will allow us to plan more studies, and give us a really useful set of tools for measuring success.

The PREDICT-PD website itself has already proved to be a good model for developing similar studies in other diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Where is the study based?

The study is online, so anyone in the UK who meets the criteria below can take part.

Who can take part?

We’re looking for people who:

  • Are aged between 60-80 at time of enrolment
  • Have internet access and able to give informed consent online
  • Do NOT have a current diagnosis of any form of Parkinson’s or other movement disorders, or dementia.
  • Are UK residents

We would also encourage people to share the study with friends and family!

You can see if you are eligible for this study or others around the UK by logging into your Join Dementia Research account.

Not registered with Join Dementia Research? Why not sign up today?