MDS Staff Liaison: Rachel Bucher
George Webster Ross
The MDS Epidemiology Study group sustains an international network of expert epidemiologists with the aim to conduct and combine studies on disease-modifying factors. The goal is to strengthen the validity of epidemiological studies and derive new biomarkers for movement disorders. These topics are being addressed by a close collaboration between the MDS Epidemiology Study group and geneticists and clinical movement disorders specialists.
Ongoing or upcoming projects of the Study group include the translation and validation of the Parkinson Disease Risk Factor Questionnaire in multiple languages (completed for German, Spanish, and Mandarin-Chinese) and the assessment of psychotropic medication use (i.e. antipsychotics and antidepressants) in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Further, we will perform gene-environment interaction analyses and re-analyses of longitudinal studies with a focus on prodromal non-motor signs and symptoms as outcome.
Need for a Dedicated Study Group in the Field
With a prevalence of <1%, most movement disorders – including Parkinson’s disease – are comparatively rare. This makes the acquisition of sufficiently sized datasets difficult. As a consequence, individual epidemiologic studies are often underpowered to address the research questions of interest. However, these types of studies are crucial for a broad range of research and clinical care applications. For instance, they aim to derive population-specific incidence rates and prevalences, identify genetic and environmental risk factors, and define the natural history of disease. The MDS Epidemiology Study group was founded to alleviate the current lack of effort invested on conducting and combining appropriately powered epidemiological research. This will be achieved by utilizing the resources available to the international MDS Epidemiology Study Group.