Vision in Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a common, debilitating neurological condition. As well as causing tremor and slowness of movement, dementia is a common symptom, affecting around half of all patients within 10 years of diagnosis. Our work is funded by a Wellcome Career Development Fellowship and aims to identify patients at highest risk of dementia in Parkinson’s disease and to understand the brain mechanisms that cause these cognitive changes.
In a large cohort of patients with Parkinson’s disease we are running a multimodal longitudinal study that uses advanced neuroimaging techniques alongside detailed neuropsychology, retinal imaging, visual measures, plasma markers and genetics to gain insights into markers of cognitive change in Parkinson’s disease.
For example, we have shown that thinning of specific layers in the retina is related to higher risk of dementia in Parkinson’s disease and that levels of brain tissue iron are higher in the hippocampi linked with poorer cognitive function in Parkinson’s disease.
Ultimately, our aim is to refine these techniques to develop robust markers of cognitive involvement in Parkinson’s disease that can be used in clinical trials to slow down the process of dementia in Parkinson’s disease.