17 September 2018

Parkinson’s WA fund $250,000 for research

The Perron Institute is delighted to receive $250,000 funding from Parkinson’s WA through the Zrinksi Research Grants for Parkinson’s research into two areas, lung function and gut health.

Clinical Professor Soumya Ghosh, a consultant neurologist and Parkinson’s researcher at the Perron Institute, and his group, are investigating the effects of inspiratory muscle training on lung function, gait and balance. Dr Ryan Anderton, an early career medical researcher at the Perron Institute and his team, are investigating the two-way communication between the gut and the brain, and how the relationship between the two could affect the progression and severity of Parkinson’s, in an Australian first study.

Parkinson’s Research in WA Breathes New Hope

A $140,000 grant will help to expand knowledge on how breathing dysfunction affects people diagnosed with Parkinson’s and how this common symptom can be more effectively treated.

More than 110,000 people in Australia have Parkinson’s, including at least 10,000 in WA.

Leading Perth-based neurologist Clinical Professor Soumya Ghosh will lead this project with a team of research and clinic staff at the Perron Institute and in collaboration with the physiotherapy and pulmonary physiology departments at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

“Breathing dysfunction in Parkinson’s contributes to fatigue, reduced physical activity and problems with speech and swallowing,” Clinical Professor Ghosh said. “Currently there is limited information on interventions that improve this.

“We will explore whether breathing affects non-motor symptoms such as fatigue, reduced exercise tolerance and depression, as well as motor-symptoms such as balance and falls.

“Better understanding will help us to offer more treatment options. Funding for this project allows us to investigate the severity of lung dysfunction in different stages of Parkinson’s.

“Exercise programs and physiotherapy are important for maintaining muscle strength and cardio fitness. Our research will begin with supervised respiratory muscle training exercises in the Perron Institute clinic and people will be required to continue the simple exercise program in their own homes. From this we will be able to assess if there are improvements”, said Professor Ghosh.

Parkinson’s WA Senior Nurse Specialist Janet McLeod said a key piece of advice given by the community-based Parkinson’s Nurse Specialists on home visits was for people with Parkinson’s to stay physically active:

“We hope this research leads to development of better therapies which, in turn, will improve quality of life,” she said.

First Australian study into the gut-brain link in Parkinson’s

Funding from Parkinson’s WA to the Perron Institute will support research into an Australian first study of the two-way communication between the gut and the brain in people with Parkinson’s.

A $108,000 grant will help to explore the gut-brain connection in people living with Parkinson’s and how gastrointestinal problems could be more effectively treated.

More than 110,000 people in Australia have Parkinson’s, including at least 10,000 in WA.

Dr Ryan Anderton, an early career medical researcher at the Perron Institute and his team, are looking at how the relationship between the gut and the brain could affect the progression and severity of Parkinson’s in a multi-centre collaboration involving Notre Dame University, The University of Western Australia and the Perron Institute.

“This area of research is unchartered territory so I’m delighted to be supported by Parkinson’s WA for a study investigating gastrointestinal symptoms, diet and gut bacteria, known as gut microbiota,” Dr Ryan Anderton said.

“Our aim is to provide much needed insight into the interaction between the gut and the brain, and ultimately develop more treatment options for people living with Parkinson’s.

“We chose to explore this area of research because gastrointestinal problems are commonly reported symptoms of Parkinson’s, and there have been no Australian studies looking at the gut microbiota in this condition.

“This funding allows us to examine if Western Australian people with Parkinson’s have different gut bacteria compared to other parts of Australia and the world, and attempt to explain differences in symptoms presentation and response to medication”, Dr Anderton said.

We look forward to sharing future updates of findings when they become available.

L-R Steve Arnott, Perron Institute CEO, Brenda Matthews, Parkinson’s WA CEO and Clinical Professor Soumya Ghosh