PPMI subject and site PI featured on “Arizona Illustrated”

Volunteers Play Key Role in Search for Parkinson’s Disease Cure
By Tony Paniagua
March 20, 2012

Arizona Public Media Online

Across the country, researchers are seeking volunteers for studies that could one day lead to a cure for Parkinson’s Disease, a motor system disorder that affects thousands of Americans each year.

But some of those studies–and volunteers–are just around the corner.

Tucson resident Kistie Sharp decided to get involved in a research project when she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2010.

Sharp is a busy mother who also takes time for exercise and playing the piano, but more than 10 years ago–while still in her 30s–Sharp noticed her left hand wasn’t responding properly to her favorite musical instrument.

Tremors in her left arm and leg ensued after that, but Sharp initially dismissed them as signs of stress from a busy schedule and parenting five children.

When she was ultimately diagnosed, Sharp decided against pharmaceutical treatment and volunteered for a research study instead.

She enrolled in the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative as part of the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

“I participated in it because after I got diagnosed I thought, OK, I’ve got this diagnosis,” she says. “What can I do about it to help me? To help others and to help to find a cure? Because obviously I want to find a cure for Parkinson’s.”

Sharp is involved in a clinical trial with Sun Health Research Institute in Sun City, Arizona, which is one of 16 sites in the U.S. participating in the studies.

Doctors say the goal is to find a better understanding of the disease, which could eventually lead to treatments for patients.

Click here to view the video on Arizona Public Media Online.