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3 July, 2019 - 19:10 By Kate Sweeney

Norwich role in groundbreaking study into Parkinson’s Disease

A new study, with links to Norwich, hopes to make inroads into predicting and preventing Parkinson’s Disease.

Predict PD is seeking 10,000 people in the UK to participate in its ground-breaking study using simple online tests to identify people at high risk of Parkinson’s disease before the symptoms appear.

It’s already a third of the way there with 3,000 responses entered onto a new online platform custom-built for the study by developer, Alex Howard of AAH Software Ltd, which is based at the Norwich Research Park.

He said: “It’s fantastic that this potentially life-changing study is off to a flying start – and it’s thanks to the fact that we can now easily harness the power of the internet to reach a lot of people.

“We were really proud to be involved and have built a powerful platform in collaboration with the researchers.

“It’s designed to collect the right data, in a user friendly way which will be analysed to make a difference in predicting and preventing Parkinson’s in the future.”

Parkinson’s is the second most common degenerative disease of the brain after Alzheimer’s disease. 

However, the number of people getting Parkinson’s is growing the fastest of any neurological condition and it is estimated that it will affect 14 million people worldwide by 2040.

Once the diagnosis is made, there is no cure; there are only treatments to reduce the symptoms.

Predict PD is a study created by researchers at UCL, Queen Mary University of London, Parkinson’s UK, the NHS, Barts Charity and the Global Kinetics Corporation.

Alasatair Noyce, principal investigator at Queen Mary University of London, said: “We believe that if we can predict who is going to get Parkinson’s, we will soon have treatments for those in the early stages that could slow or prevent the condition progressing – which would be a major step forwards towards a cure and could have huge knock-on implications for dementia and other age-related diseases of the brain.

Anyone in the UK can help in the fight against Parkinson’s by taking part in the study at www.predictpd.com or www.parkinsons.org.uk 

A sister study, Rapsodi, also built by AAH Software Ltd, is also running at www.rapsodistudy.com specifically focusing on people who carry the GBA gene which is associated a slightly higher risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease.

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