Participating in Clinical Trials is “Paying it Forward”

FOXFEED BLOG: October 25, 2013

Twice a year, Rob Sollenberger, a retired U.S. Navy Captain, flies from the Rocky Mountains to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore as a participant in theParkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI). Sponsored by The Michael J. Fox Foundation, PPMI seeks to identify biomarkers, or indicators of Parkinson’s disease (PD), that could enable earlier detection and possibly even help to identify new and better treatments.

As soon as Rob was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, he asked what he could do to help researchers. His neurologist suggested joining one of several clinical studies, and he picked PPMI.Over the five year span of PPMI, Rob will undergo regularly scheduled cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) sampling, MRI and DaTSCAN brain imaging, blood draws and cognitive testing that will ultimately help researchers elucidate what happens in the body over time. Having lost much of his sense of smell plus having had sleep issues for as many as eight years before his initial diagnosis in 2010, Rob now thinks he was experiencing early symptoms of PD back then. Read more