Researchers at Michigan State University have developed a groundbreaking new method of detecting Parkinson’s disease at an earlier stage, making it possible to treat the disease and control symptoms more effectively. Professor and chair of Michagan State University’s Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders Rahul Shrivastav helped in part to develop the method of detection, which involves monitoring speech patterns, movement patterns of the jaw and tongue in particular. According to the Michigan State University news page, these signs are detectable before the disease begins to affect other muscles and movement.
Parkinson’s Disease is a nervous system disorder that occurs when the brain’s nerve cells stop producing dopamine, which affects muscle movement. Nerve cells can’t send messages correctly without dopamine, which causes patients with Parkinson’s disease to lose muscle function. Shrivastav’s research will allow doctors to begin treating the disease at an earlier stage and could drastically change the quality of life for the multitude of patients affected by Parkinson’s disease.
“It’s a pretty aggressive disease,” says Shrivastav. “It starts off gradually but has a very big impact on people’s lives eventually. There’s no formal diagnostic method. It’s mostly subjective. Speech is one of the things we know very well changes. In fact, there is enough data out there to know it’s one of the first things to change in a lot of people.”
Michigan State University
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Michigan State University’s research on diseases like Parkinson’s makes the school a research powerhouse. Lab suppliers marketing life science solutions and interested in increasing lab sales leads will find that Michigan State University is also a highly funded market, according to the latest NIH and NSF research funding statistics. In 2012, the NIH gave Michigan State University $49.4 million in research funding. The money was distributed among a number of projects across various life science departments. Some of the departments receiving funding include biochemistry, biostatistics, chemistry, internal medicine, microbiology and veterinary sciences. For a full list of departments receiving awards and funding, please visit the NIH website.
In addition to receiving $49.4 million from the NIH, Michigan State University was awarded $62.1 million by the NSF in 2012. The projects awarded research funding varied among a number of life science disciplines. Of these life science projects, the programs of study ranged from biological infrastructure, systematics and biodiversity science, cellular dynamics and function, global systems science, neural systems, macrosystem biology, systems and synthetic biology, evolutionary science, environmental biology, plant genome research, genetic mechanisms and molecular biophysics. For more detailed information on projects receiving NSF research funding, please visit the NSF website.
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