SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – LSU Health Shreveport was one of five sites chosen by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research to participate in a study of the effects of Parkinson’s Disease in Black and African American people.

The Black and African American Connections to Parkinson’s Disease study is a project of the Global Parkinson’s Genetics Program and the Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s initiative, which conducts scientific research and analysis to identify genetic links to Parkinson’s disease.

LSU Health Shreveport joins Rush University, the University of Chicago, Kaiser Mid-Atlantic, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham as participating U.S. BLAAC-PD study sites.

The purpose of the Black and African American Connections to Parkinson’s Disease research study is to learn more about the gene that causes Parkinson’s in Black and African American people.

According to a media release from LSUHS, 90% of genetics studies related to Parkinson’s Disease have involved people of European ancestry, leaving the disease’s genetic impact on Black and African American people underrepresented in current research data.

Elizabeth Disbrow, the Director of the Center for Brain Health and Professor of Neurology at LSU Health Shreveport, will lead the study.

“While great strides have been made in Parkinson’s disease research, there is still more to learn, especially regarding the genetic impact on disease development. Information gathered through studies like BLACC PD could lead to major breakthroughs in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Our team at LSU Health Shreveport is looking forward to working with GP2 and the Michael J. Fox Foundation to better understand PD and develop new therapies for all groups of people who are affected by this disease,” Elizabeth Disbrow, Ph.D., said.

Nearly one million people in the United States are affected by Parkinson’s disease (PD), an age-related degenerative brain condition that impacts motor and cognitive function. It is the most common movement-related brain disease and the second-most common neurodegenerative disease.

LSUHS is recruiting volunteers to participate in the BLAAC-PD study. People who meet the following criteria are eligible:

  • Age 18 or older
  • Identify as Black or African American
  • Do or do not have Parkinson’s disease

There is no cost to participate, and participants will be compensated.

For more information or to participate in the study, contact Dr. Elizabeth Disbrow at visit, or call The Bridge (318) 656-4800.