Focus Areas

The Young-Onset Parkinson's Disease and Synucleinopathies Lab at Mayo Clinic is breaking new ground in the study of young-onset Parkinson's disease and related neurodegenerative disorders through these focus areas:

  • Epidemiological studies. These studies give insights to how common different synucleinopathies are, which aids researchers and physicians in understanding the impact of neurodegenerative disorders. Epidemiological studies help determine if certain populations are at a higher risk of developing synucleinopathies and how the environmental factors and the genetic predisposition interplay in the population at risk. Dr. Savica's lab has access to the Rochester Epidemiology Project, enabling extensive retrospective case-control studies with the aim of finding early predictors of developing synucleinopathies. In addition, the lab is studying the frequency of Parkinson's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and parkinsonism-related disorders in the population and finding that these conditions have become more frequent in the last few decades.
  • Biomarker identification. Biomarkers can be used to diagnose and prognosticate synucleinopathies and related disorders. Diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers are crucial for making medical decisions, and choosing treatment and care for the patient. In addition, biomarkers can be relevant in the early diagnosis and identification of individuals at risk.
  • Risk factor identification. The lab has identified novel risk factors and early manifestations for the future development of Parkinson's disease such as anemia and constipation. The research team is also exploring the role of the different risk factors within sexes.
  • Disease progression. The lab developed a model of progression of disease, taking advantage of the pre-motor symptoms and findings of young-onset Parkinson's disease and synucleinopathies.
  • Visual symptoms and head trauma. The research team is exploring the role of visual symptoms in predicting the progression of Parkinson's disease.

Dr. Savica and the Young-Onset Parkinson's Disease and Synucleinopathies Lab team's research findings have been published in major scientific journals and presented to major neurology and neuroscience conferences worldwide.

See Dr. Savica's publications.