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Current Research Opportunities

Investigating Exercise-Induced Neuroplasticity and its Mechanisms in Parkinson's Disease: Targeting Executive Function and Brain Circuitry

Site PI: Dawn Schiehser, Ph.D.

This current study aims to investigate the relationship between daily physical activity, cognitive performance, and brain functioning in individuals with Parkinson’s disease. 

Participation in this study will last 18 months (3 visits) and will involve cognitive assessments, fitness assessments, and wearing exercise-tracking devices as well as filling out mood/sleep/activity logs to record daily activity. This study may also involve an MRI depending on compatibility. 

​Total Visits (3): 
  • Baseline
  • 9-month follow-up
  • 18-month follow-up
Compensation:
You may receive up to $210 for study participation

You may be eligible if you:
  • Have a confirmed diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease
  • Are between the ages of 50 to 85
  • English is your primary language
  • Can perform physical exercise tasks such as walking on a treadmill and walking up a flight of stairs
  • Are willing to undergo an MRI scan
  • Have not had DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) surgery
To inquire about participation, please contact one of our research coordinators at (858) 552-8585 ext. 5593


Interventions for Parkinson’s disease: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Creative Education Care

PI: Dawn Schiehser, Ph.D.


This upcoming study aims to investigate the efficacy of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or Creative Education Care (CEC) on quality of life, cognition, and mood in individuals with Parkinson’s disease.

Participation in this study lasts 12 months and involves 4 testing sessions looking at cognition and mood. You will also be asked to participate in an 8-week Mindfulness or Psychoeducational course. Each group will meet weekly for 2.5 hour classes held at the VA Medical Research Foundation in La Jolla. There will also be a retreat held between classes 6 and 7.

​Total Visits (5):
  • Baseline testing (before classes)
  • 8 weekly classes + one retreat 
  • Post group testing (8-weeks)
  • 6-month follow-up
  • 12-month follow-up
Compensation:
You may receive up to $300 for study participation

You may be eligible if you:
  • Have a confirmed diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease
  • Are above the age of 40
  • English is your primary language
  • Are able to walk or stand without dependence on an assistive device
  • Are not formally trained or currently practicing Mindfulness
*Note: we do not exclude for Deep Brain Stimulation

To inquire about participation, please contact our research coordinator at (858) 552-8585 ext. 5593


Traumatic Brain Injury in Parkinson's Disease: A Longitudinal Study

PI: Dawn Schiehser, Ph.D.

This current study aims to investigate the impact of chronic mild or moderate TBI on cognition, neuropsychiatric symptoms, quality of life, and neuropathology in Parkinson's Disease. Participation in this study will last 24 months (2 visits) and will involve cognitive assessments and an MRI. 

We are enrolling individuals:

  • with Parkinson's disease, with a history of head injury or concussion**
  • with Parkinson's disease, without a history of head injury or concussion
  • without Parkinson's disease, with a history of head injury or concussion**
**If you are unsure if you have had a traumatic brain injury, please contact us and we can determine that for you.

Total Visits (2): 
  • Baseline
  • 24-month follow-up
You may be eligible if you: 
  • Are above the age of 40
  • English is your primary language
  • Are willing to undergo an MRI scan
  • (For those with Parkinson's) Have not have Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery
Enrollment for this study will begin in the fall of 2020.

To inquire about participation, please contact one of our research coordinators at (858) 552-8585 ext. 5593.


Other Studies Run by Dr. Dawn Schiehser

Imaging Markers of Central and Peripheral Impairment in Chronic Post-Traumatic Headache

PI: Dawn Schiehser, Ph.D.

Co-PI: Katrina Maluf, PT, Ph.D., Bahar Shahidi, DPT, Ph.D.

This current study aims to identify the markers for brain and muscle dysfunction contributing to post-traumatic headache. We are enrolling individuals with mild traumatic brain injury with or without headaches and/or neck pain. This study is not investigating Parkinson’s Disease.
To inquire about participation, please contact one of our research coordinators at 858-255-1670