The research of Erika D. Driver-Dunckley, M.D., is focused on identifying the causes of, and improving the treatments for, Parkinson's disease, atypical parkinsonisms, essential tremor, dystonia and other movement disorders. These studies involve epigenetics and the pathology of Parkinson's disease and are conducted in collaboration with the Arizona Parkinson's Disease Consortium and the Arizona Study of Aging and Neurodegenerative Disorders.
- Parkinson's disease, dementias and movement disorders. Dr. Driver-Dunckley collaborates with colleagues across the United States and Arizona to investigate potential causes for Parkinson's disease, dementia in Parkinson's disease, Lewy body dementia, essential tremor and restless legs syndrome. Her major research efforts include work with the Arizona Study of Aging and Neurodegenerative Disorders.
- Arizona Study of Aging and Neurodegenerative Disorders. Dr. Driver-Dunckley and colleagues at the Banner Sun Health Research Institute work 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.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Driver-Dunckley's research has led to several advances in patient care. Her work with the Arizona Study of Aging and Neurodegenerative Disorders is using the loss of sense of smell to identify early Parkinson's disease. Dr. Driver-Dunckley continues to be a leader in testing new therapies for patients with Parkinson's disease, parkinsonisms, essential tremor, restless legs syndrome and dystonia.