Advanced MR imaging in PD

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Advanced quantitative MRI studies in newly diagnosed Parkinson’s disease



  • Contact name

    Simon Keller

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    The University of Liverpool

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    2 years, 7 months, 21 days

  • Research summary

    Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease primarily characterised by progressive basal ganglia degeneration. At the time of the clinical diagnosis more than 50% of the dopamine-producing neurons of the substantia nigra have degenerated and significant neuropathological alterations have occurred. Imaging in patients with PD has driven greater understanding of the pathophysiological processes in PD and the brain areas affected. Identifying early brain abnormalities in patients with newly diagnosed PD is challenging, largely due to the lack of sensitivity/specificity and resolution of microscopic and metabolic quantifiable factors driving neuropathological alterations. Advanced neuroimaging approaches, such as sophisticated modelling of white matter (WM) architecture using diffusion MRI, are showing promise for stratifying patients according to motor phenotypes. However, many of these studies are typically limited, by the use of MRI methods that are not sensitive to the microscopic environment of the brain and miss key mechanistic and more intricate alterations. The goal of this research is to use a combination of existing clinically acquired ‘standard’ MRI scans in a large cohort of patients with newly diagnosed PD. As well as new advanced ‘experimental’ research MRI scans in a smaller selected cohort of patients to determine imaging biomarkers of motor phenotypes and patient shorter term clinical progression as well as assessing cognitive decline. This work has the potential to provide new insights into the neural mechanisms that directly contribute to specific motor and non-motor impairment in the early stages of PD and could generate meaningful pilot data for future larger-scale multisite grant applications.

  • REC name

    Yorkshire & The Humber - Bradford Leeds Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    21 Feb 2023

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion