Public Health Relevance

The public health relevance of NINDS Morris K. Udall Center of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease Research entitled Mechanisms of Cognitive Impairment in Parkinson’s Disease housed in the Department of Neurology at the Keck School of Medicine at The University of Southern California located in East Los Angeles’ under resourced Latinx communities is to translate the new PD research findings of the Center through a vigorous science dissemination program to researchers and a community outreach program to those patients, caretakers, families and communities with high neurological health disparities both locally and nationally. Recent studies have highlighted the significant role of the glymphatic system, a cerebral fluid-transport system, in the removal of harmful metabolites from the brain. New evidence suggests the disruption of this system in several neurodegenerative disorders, including recently Parkinson’s Disease (PD). The Center will for the first time, apply high resolution structural and functional brain mapping to correlates of cognitive decline in PD.

The goals of the Center are:
  • To discover potential therapeutic targets for cognitive decline in early Parkinson’s disease
  • To apply multimodal imaging approaches to assess anatomical correlates of cognitive changes
  • To identify objective diagnostic measures to detect and monitor cognitive change in early Parkinson’s disease
  • To identify critical sleep parameters and lifestyle factors that impact cognitive change and glymphatic integrity
  • To utilize preclinical models to elucidate the mechanisms by which astrocytic dysfunction impacts glymphatic integrity and neuronal health
  • To promote and mentor investigators new to the field of Parkinson’s disease research
  • To disseminate UDALL center findings to patients, care givers, healthcare providers, researchers, policy makers and diverse communities
  • To educate, inform, and promote the development of improved treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s disease

Meet the Collaborators

This collaboration between Keck and Dornsife aims to gain novel perspectives towards understanding both the parameters of lifestyle as well as investigating underlying mechanisms of neuroplasticity critical for developing brain resilience in aging and disease.

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From Bench to Community

Recent studies have highlighted the significant role of the glymphatic system, a cerebral fluid-transport system, in the removal of harmful metabolites from the brain. New evidence suggests the disruption of this system in several neurodegenerative disorders, including recently Parkinson’s Disease (PD). The Center will for the first time, apply high resolution structural and functional brain mapping to correlates of cognitive decline in PD.