Could virtual studies support Parkinson’s disease research?

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Author: Saskia MairPublished: 10 June 2021

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Parkinson’s research is “hampered by inefficient recruitment and burdensome in-person assessments”, according to researchers in the US and Canada. But could virtual research have the potential to help solve some of these problems?

Recruiting 203 participants from Fox Insight – an online clinical study sponsored by The Michael J Fox Foundation – the team assessed the validity of the participants’ self-reported Parkinson’s health information, and their willingness to take part in video-based research. Participants completed online questionnaires and attended two virtual visits, with a movement disorder specialist determining the likely diagnosis compared to the self-reported diagnosis.

The study revealed that the participants’ self-reported diagnosis of Parkinson’s was accurate – and that 98.5% of participants would consider participating in a future study with virtual visits.

The researchers concluded: “Our study demonstrates the promise of a much-needed novel model for conducting Parkinson’s research and highlights the potential of such a model for … advancing clinical research in Parkinson’s in the midst of a pandemic.”


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