Our brains change as we age, increasing the risk of neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases. Neurodegenerative disorders are conditions that cause the loss or damage of brain cells and circuits with devastating results. Around 145,000 people live with Parkinson's Disease in the UK alone, and it is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world.
Many think Parkinson’s Disease only affects movement, with symptoms such as tremors and rigidity. But other non-motor symptoms also impact everyday life. Researchers at the School of Neuroscience are investigating how we can improve quality of life for people with Parkinson's Disease by targeting symptoms such as problems with bladder and bowel control, eating, swallowing and saliva control, sleeping and many other areas.
One of the symptoms that many people with Parkinson's Disease experience is pain. Researchers at the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases are hoping to develop evidence-based interventions to improve patients' quality of life. Senior Lecturer at the Centre, Dr Kirsty Bannister, recently received the 2022 Patrick D. Wall Young Investigator Prize from the International Association for the Study of Pain, which will fund her research into the biology of pain.
Parkinson's Disease has also been associated with visual hallucinations. You can learn more about Miriam Vignando's most recent research investigating the brain mechanisms underlying visual hallucinations here.