Diagnostic et le traitement de la maladie de Parkinson au stade précoce

 

Ronald Postuma

Centre universitaire de santé McGill

 

Domaine : nutrition et métabolisme

Programme chercheurs-boursiers cliniciens - Senior

Concours 2014-2015

1) Despite much effort by researchers, we still do not have therapy for Parkinson's disease that can slow down the degenerative (or aging) process.  One of the biggest reasons for this is that Parkinson's may in fact have been present for 10-20 years before patients come to their doctor with motor problems - it might be too late. If we could could diagnose it earlier, we could perhaps slow or even prevent it.

Recently, we discovered that REM sleep behavior disorder, an uncommon sleep problem, indicates a very very high risk of developing Parkinson's and related disorders (up to 80% eventually get disease). This means we have a way to diagnosis Parkinson's in its earliest stages.  Based upon this we are studying patients with REM sleep behavior disorder to: a) test other predictors of disease, that could perhaps be applied to everyone in a future when we have preventative therapy, b) measure annually a variety of markers to examine what the early stages of Parkinson's look like, particularly how markers evolve and interact before disease is diagnosed, and c) identify patients with REM sleep behavior disorder who are at very high short-term risk of disease.  These patients could be selected for trials of medications to prevent PD.

2) We recently discovered in a small trial that caffeine may be useful in treating the symptoms of Parkinson's. This is consistent with the fact that Parkinson's patients drink less coffee, and have done so all their lives. If this is true, we may have a 'new' treatment for Parkinson's that is extremely safe, well-tolerated, and inexpensive.  Therefore, we are starting a definitive trial to measure whether caffeine can be used as a medication for Parkinson's disease.