Two neurologists have been awarded $134,000 to develop the first comprehensive clinical scale to accurately measure the presence and severity of dyskinesia (involuntary, uncontrolled movements) in patients with Parkinson's Disease (PD.)
"The development of a Unified Dyskinesia Rating Scale will provide a critical research tool for any future clinical trial," says Dr. Christopher G. Goetz, Director of Movement Disorders of Rush University Medical Center, who along with Dr. John G. Nutt, Oregon Health and ScienceUniversity, are working to develop the rating scale.
Goetz says that without a comprehensive scale, current clinical trials make use of many disparate scales that rely on different types of clinical assessments. "The lack of a Unified Dyskinesia Rating Scale makes it difficult to compare results across research studies and decreases the robustness of clinical trials testing dyskinesia treatments."
When it comes to measuring a new therapy's effects on dyskinesias -- the involuntary, uncontrollable, and excessive movements that are a common side effect of drugs used to treat Parkinson's Disease-- different clinicians observing the same evidence can potentially come to very different conclusions. No standardized and comprehensive tool exists to make the judgment easier.
"Dyskinesias have such a large impact on patients' day-to-day lives that nearly every Parkinson's clinical trial measures them -- even trials that don't explicitly involve a dyskinesia therapy," said Katie Hood, the Michael J. Fox Foundation's (MJFF) vice president of research programs, one of the two research funding agencies. "But the resulting body of evidence lacks cohesion because there is no common set of metrics for reporting on dyskinesias. Practitioners agree on the strong need for a 'common language' if we are to successfully address this difficult complication of Parkinson's treatment."