Clinical Trials - one way to get closer to the unknown

Check the headline - I’m very careful about saying “the unknown” and not “the cure” because the latter is a very loaded and emotional term. I feel good about writing about the importance of clinical trials; I do believe there are many awesome scientists around the world working their tails off with the best intentions. I also believe that searching for a needle (a.k.a. “the cure”) under a 5 trillion ton haystack in the dark is tough. But engaging in clinical trials is one way to shed a little light and take away a little hay.

Full disclosure: I work at UNLV for Dr. Poston in the Neurophysiology of Movement Lab. They are looking for persons with Parkinson’s Disease right now to participate in a research study of hand/arm coordination involving Parkinson’s disease.

Here’s the skinny:

“Study participants will be asked to perform a simple pinch grip task with the index finger and the thumb, a handwriting task, and to receive non-invasive, painless transcranial direct current stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation of the motor cortex.

Participation in this study will require completion of 9 practice sessions over a 2 week period each lasting about 45 minutes. In addition, 4 testing sessions of about 2.5 hours will be done (1 on the first practice day, 1 after the last practice day, 1 two weeks after the two week practice period ends, and 1 four weeks after the practice period ends). All experiments will be performed in the Neurophysiology of Movement Lab, which is located in the MPE Building at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.”

There are a few caveats:

  • We are recruiting male and female Parkinson’s disease patients between the ages of 60 and 85 for this research.

  • We cannot accept persons who have suffered a neurological or peripheral injury or disease with a possible long-lasting effect on hand/arm function.

  • We cannot accept people who have shrapnel or metal fragments in their head or people who have implanted medical devices such as pacemakers or deep brain stimulators.

  • Lastly, participants will be compensated $125 for completing the experiment.

If you’re interested or know someone who might be, please contact me at robert.cochrane@unlv.edu. Clinical trials make a big difference, not just for the researchers, but for the PWP who get to understand a little more about their Parkinson’s and how it is affected in this environment. I can say with great confidence that Dr. Poston and his staff are kind, compassionate and very accommodating.

Please share this with anyone you think may be interested. I hope to hear from you soon.

Robert Cochrane

Parkinson's Place