The Michael J. Fox Foundation awards grant to Center researcher

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research has awarded funds to Sarah K. Lageman, PhD, ABPP-CN, a clinician-investigator with the VCU Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center and Assistant Professor of Neurology.

This grant will support Dr. Lageman’s research of the benefits of memory and problem solving training compared to supportive therapy in people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

The project investigates a critically needed therapy, which targets neurocognitive symptoms such as thinking difficulties and declines in mood.  These neurocognitive symptoms of PD often result in significant and progressive decrease in individuals’ activity levels, quality of life, and independence.  Neurocognitive impairments are now a major source of disability for Parkinson’s patients, whose primary movement deficiencies are now better managed with modern approaches.  Neurocognitive decline is now a common cause of nursing home admissions for Parkinson’s sufferers.

Volunteers who choose to participate will be randomly assigned to receive memory and problem solving training or supportive therapy for 2-months with a 6-month follow up evaluation. The memory and problem solving training consists of a day calendar manual and note taking system and problem solving techniques. The supportive therapy offers patients and support persons the opportunity to discuss and reflect upon both PD and non-PD related problems.

If a positive benefit is observed in this project, the tested therapies offer strategies that patients can use as their symptoms change, with minimal cost and no side effects. These therapies could help individuals maintain or improve their thinking skills and mood, and also positively impact their daily lives. If the therapies are found to be beneficial in this study, these therapies will result in improved neurocognitive function that will hopefully reduce the need for institutional care of Parkinson’s patients.

Thank you to the generous donors whose support led to pilot data that strengthened the proposal and ensured continued research in this important area.  Thank you for your continued support and commitment to finding better therapies for Parkinson’s and movement disorders.

Interested in participating?  Please contact Dr. Sarah Lageman at (804) 828-3747 or pdcenter@vcu.edu.

This study is supported by a grant from

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About aperseghin

Andrea Perseghin is the Associate Director for Education and Outreach at the VCU PMDC. She manages all of the educational programming for the center -- and is lost without her iPhone alerts.

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