DIMENSIONS Spring 2010

Pacific Northwest Udall Center

“PANUC” (sounds like “Nanook”)

We are very excited to announce that the National Institute of Health has funded a new center to study Parkinson’s Disease (PD) here in the northwest named the Pacific Northwest Udall Center or “PANUC”. This is the 14th Morris K. Udall Center of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease Research funded nationwide. These centers are named after the former congressman Morris Udall who suffered from Parkinson’s disease. The aim is to conduct research into the causes of PD and to develop new treatments for PD. The PANUC is a collaboration among the University of Washington, Oregon Health Science University, and the Seattle and Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.

Similar to the Alzheimer’s Center, one of the main goals for the PANUC will be to evaluate patients with PD over time with examinations and testing of thinking skills (cognition). While the results from these evaluations will be used for already developed research projects, this large sample (600 patients) of well-characterized PD patients will be used as a resource for future research as well. In addition to the patient-based component, other studies within the PANUC will study animal models of PD, brain changes in PD that account for clinical symptoms, and the role of genetics in PD.

Many of the investigators already working in the UW ADRC will also be participating in the PANUC, including Drs. Leverenz, Tsuang, Peskind, and Montine. One focus of the PANUC is to study the cognitive impairment observed in PD and the expertise of these investigators with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia will be quite valuable for the PANUC studies.

The PANUC is actively looking to recruit people with PD for this new center. If you, a loved one, or acquaintance suffers from PD please consider calling the PANUC to learn more about this new research effort. The PANUC toll free phone number is 1-866-932-7380. We need your help to make this center a success and to improve the lives of those who suffer from PD.


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