Parkinson Research

Aurora among Top Research Institutes for Parkinson Disease

Comprehensive and groundbreaking Parkinson disease research is underway at Aurora Health Care’s Parkinson Research Institute in hopes of identifying underlying causes of the disease that may lead to finding its elusive cure.

Knowing Causes of Parkinson Disease Will Lead to Cure

Aurora’s Parkinson Research Institute is one of the few organizations, nationally, with a sufficient database to research the possible causes of Parkinson disease. The database is made up of the world's largest collection of Parkinson patients' histories developed over the last 20 years. Some 20,000 archived histories with detailed clinical information including occupational, family and lifestyle data are computerized and analyzed. Our systematic analysis of these records may hold the key to, one day, understanding the disease, its causes, environmental factors related to disease prevalence, optimal treatment approaches and, hopefully, a Parkinson disease cure.

The role of environmental toxins as a cause is one aspect of our Parkinson research that may yield more answers. To that end, the Institute has developed a tissue bank designed to study brain samples of deceased Parkinson patients. In the meantime, ongoing data analysis and clinical trials of new treatments are complementing other aspects of research.

National research is a fundamental contributor to the overall goal of finding the cause and developing treatments for Parkinson disease, essential tremor and other movement disorders.  A number of potential treatments for Parkinson disease now being evaluated in research institutes across the nation, like ours, show much promise.

  • Neurotrophic proteins: these appear to protect nerve cells from the premature death that prompts Parkinson disease
  • Neuroprotective agents: researchers are examining naturally occurring compounds that appear to deactivate "free radicals," chemicals some scientists think may be linked to the damage of nerve cells in Parkinson disease. New drug strategies are being designed to preserve dopamine cells
  • Neural tissue transplants: researchers are studying ways to implant neural tissues from various sources into the brain to restore the damaged cells
  • Genetic engineering: scientists are modifying the genetic code of an individual's cells to create dopamine-producing cells from other tissues, such as skin or muscle
  • Timing and sequencing of levodopa and synthetic dopamine agonists: Parkinson researchers are studying this issue to slow progression of the disease and reduce drug-related side effects
  • Neurotoxins: identification and understanding of agents in the environment that can potentially damage the dopamine-producing area of the brain

Support the Aurora Parkinson Research Institute

Gift arrangements will assist in supporting the Aurora Parkinson Research Institute. Cash gifts, marketable securities and other gifts will be gratefully accepted. Some of these gifts include:

  • Real estate and other tangible property
  • Life insurance
  • Estate and life income planning instruments—bequests, charitable remainder annuity trusts, charitable remainder unitrusts and life income contracts

The Wisconsin Parkinson Association can assist prospective contributors with the development of such gifts and can explain charitable benefits and tax consequences associated with each gift instrument.

Learn more about Aurora Health Care’s Parkinson treatment and the Aurora Parkinson Research Institute. Call 414-219-7450.

Find a neurological care doctor. Call 888-863-5502.