The research of Charles H. Adler, M.D., Ph.D., is focused on identifying the causes and improving the treatment of Parkinson's disease, dementia, essential tremor, dystonia and other movement disorders. This research includes his role as co-leader of the Arizona Study of Aging and Neurodegenerative Disorders. In this study, Dr. Adler and colleagues follow thousands of volunteers with Parkinson's disease, dementia and typical aging via clinical examinations and autopsies.
Dr. Adler also studies former football players for biomarkers of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Further, he is a leader in studying golfers with the "yips" to identify those with a neurological disorder known as golfer's cramp.
- Parkinson's disease, dementias and movement disorders. Dr. Adler collaborates with colleagues across the United States to investigate potential causes for Parkinson's disease, dementia in Parkinson's disease, Lewy body dementia, essential tremor and restless legs syndrome. His major research efforts include work with the Arizona Study of Aging and Neurodegenerative Disorders and the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative.
- Arizona Study of Aging and Neurodegenerative Disorders. Dr. Adler and Thomas G. Beach, M.D., Ph.D., at the Banner Sun Health Research Institute, lead the effort to clinically characterize a cohort of subjects enrolled in the Arizona Study of Aging and Neurodegenerative Disorders. This study involves annual clinical evaluations for movement disorders and cognitive function in people who have agreed to donate their brains and other organs when they die. A major success of this project is the development of tissue biopsies to help diagnose Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies.
- Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative. Dr. Adler leads Mayo Clinic in Arizona's participation in the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative, which is funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.
- Movement disorder research. Dr. Adler investigates typical and atypical movement in people with various movement disorders. This includes studying movements in patients with Parkinson's disease, as well as abnormal muscle movements in golfers with and without golfer's cramp.
- Traumatic encephalopathy syndrome and chronic traumatic encephalopathy research. Dr. Adler studies former professional and college football players searching for biomarkers — such as blood or spinal fluid or neuroimaging or exam findings — for traumatic encephalopathy syndrome, the clinical syndrome seen in people who have chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Adler's research has led to a number of advances in patient care. He is a leader in using the loss of sense of smell to identify early Parkinson's disease. He helped develop the use of biopsies of the submandibular gland and skin to identify patients with Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. Dr. Adler continues to be a leader in testing new treatments for patients with Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, restless legs syndrome and dystonia.
- Secretary, International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society, 2021-present
- Wayne and Kathryn Preisel Professorship in Neuroscience Research, Mayo Clinic, 2022
- Movement Disorders Research Award, American Academy of Neurology, 2022
- Movement Disorders Journal
- Research Article of the Year, 2021
- Research Article of the Year, 2016
- Review Article of the Year, 2015
- Best in Medicine Award, American Health Council, 2018
- Co-chair, Biomarkers Working Group, Parkinson Study Group, 2011-2015
- Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year, Mayo Clinic School of Continuous Professional Development, 2007
- Mayo Clinic Distinguished Investigator Award, 2006
- Head, Human Subjects Research Committee, Mayo Clinic Arizona, 2001-2003
- Vice chair, Mayo Clinic Arizona Research Committee, Mayo Clinic, 2001-2003