Imaging in Parkinson Disease
Over the past decade researchers at IND have developed and utilized dopamine transporter imaging in several studies to evaluate the diagnosis and monitor progression of Parkinson disease. In our studies, dopamine transporter imaging using [123I] ß-CIT SPECT discriminated between individuals with Parkinson disease and healthy subjects with a sensitivity of about 98%.
The figure below is an example of an image using [123I] ß-CIT SPECT in a patient with Parkinson disease and a healthy control. In this figure, the striatum, the area of the brain most affected by Parkinson disease, shows less uptake of [123I] ß-CIT in the Parkinson patient compared to the healthy control subject.
In addition to dopamine transporter imaging, several other imaging modalities evaluating neurochemical systems are under development. Neurochemical changes other than dopamine may be responsible for the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson disease including depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties and change in cognition. Understanding these neurochemical changes in the brain offers the opportunity to develop medications to improve both the motor and non-motor symptoms that occur in Parkinson disease.