Currently Dr. Adler is participating in three clinical studies in the Phoenix area. These efforts seek to better understand the progression of neurodegenerative diseases in patients in order to improve early diagnosis accuracy.
Predictors of Parkinson's disease and Parkinson's disease dementia
The Arizona Study of Aging and Neurodegenerative Disorders (AZSAND) is a longitudinal clinicopathologic study where subjects with Parkinson's disease, dementia, and controls are enrolled and followed until death. Every year, a series of clinical examinations are performed that include making assessments for parkinsonism and other movement disorders, measuring cognitive function and administering questionnaires related to sleep and autonomic function. Every third year, a test of the sense of smell is performed. All this information is used to study biomarkers for Parkinson's disease and different types of dementia. The tissue from autopsies of the brain and other organs is used for research into these diseases.
The yips: A focal, task-specific dystonia or golfer's cramp
Dystonia is an involuntary movement disorder characterized by twisting, turning, and muscle spasms. Some golfers have movements when putting or chipping that are known as "the yips." When the yips is caused by dystonia, the condition is known as golfer's cramp. Very little research has been done in this area and, to date, the cause is yet to be determined. Dr. Adler's Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Lab has been studying task-specific dystonia and working with golfers to determine whether the cause of yips is neurological or psychological.
DIAGNOSE CTE study
The Diagnostics, Imaging and Genetics Network for the Objective Study and Evaluation (DIAGNOSE) of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) research project studies former NFL football players, college football players and controls. As researchers, we are looking for biomarkers in the blood, spinal fluid and saliva, as well as neuroimaging markers that would suggest that subjects have CTE or will develop it.