National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Awards $3.8 Million to Cleveland Clinic Researcher to Predict Dementia in Parkinson’s Disease Patients

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a grant expected to total $3.8 million to Virendra Mishra, Ph.D., associate staff at Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, to identify biomarkers – or disease indicators – to predict dementia in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

“Although dementia affects approximately 50-80% of those living with Parkinson’s disease within 12 years of diagnosis, currently there are no means for predicting dementia in specific individuals,” said Mishra. “The possibility of identifying who will develop dementia with Parkinson’s disease progression has several clinical benefits, including providing individuals with greater clarity on their future and helping clinicians better manage disease progression.

The five-year grant supports the project, “Towards Generating a Multimodal and Multivarate Classification Model from Imaging and Non-Imaging Measures for Accurate Diagnosis and Monitoring of Dementia in Parkinson’s Disease,” which will use biomarkers spanning imaging, blood, cerebrospinal fluid and genetics to develop a predictive mathematical model to identify specific individuals with Parkinson’s disease who may develop dementia as their disease progresses.

Utilizing sophisticated and pathologically relevant neuroimaging measures — such as diffusion-weighted MRI and resting state functional MRI — with non-imaging measures, including clinical data, demographics, genetics and cerebrospinal fluid, Mishra aims to:

  • Understand how functional brain connectivity (interaction between different brain regions to complete the task at hand) and structural brain connectivity (information flow between brain regions responsible for completing the task at hand) differ in dementia in Parkinson’s disease
  • Identify the best biomarkers that predict dementia in Parkinson’s disease through multivariate statistical modelling

Through this research, Mishra plans to develop a method that can be applied in clinical care with a greater-than-chance success rate to improve patient outcomes. In addition to clinical implications, identifying pathophysiology-based biomarkers for dementia in Parkinson’s disease is critical for selecting appropriate individuals for participation in clinical trials of potential new disease-modifying therapies, and better understanding of the underlining pathophysiological processes.

Additionally, the novel imaging techniques developed for this research also can be applied in other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease to help advance the understanding of disease-specific neuroanatomical changes indicative of dementia.

This project is supported by NIH grant award R01NS117547.

For more information about ongoing research at Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, visit ClevelandClinic.org/Nevada or call 702-701-7944.

About Cleveland Clinic:
Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 67,554 employees worldwide are more than 4,520 salaried physicians and researchers, and 17,000 registered nurses and advanced practice providers, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic is a 6,026-bed health system that includes a 165-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 18 hospitals, more than 220 outpatient facilities, and locations in southeast Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2019, there were 9.8 million total outpatient visits, 309,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 255,000 surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 185 countries. Visit us at clevelandclinic.org. Follow us at twitter.com/CCforMedia and twitter.com/ClevelandClinic. News and resources available at newsroom.clevelandclinic.org.

About the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health:
Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, which opened in 2009, provides expert diagnosis and treatment for individuals and families living with Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body, frontotemporal and other dementias; Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, multiple system atrophy and other movement disorders; and multiple sclerosis. With locations in Cleveland, OH; Weston, Florida and headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada, the center offers a continuum of care with no-cost opportunities for the community to participate in education and research, including disease prevention studies and clinical trials of promising new medications. An integrated entity, Keep Memory Alive, raises funds exclusively in support of the Nevada location. clevelandclinic.org/Nevada