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Parkinson’s disease is the most common disorder of the basal ganglia. In Germany, 150,000 to 200,000 people suffer from this disease. Parkinson’s disease is triggered when the neurons of the substantia nigra - part of the brain stem - gradually begin to die off. Because these cells produce the neurotransmitter dopamine, this leads to a shortage of dopamine in the brain. Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, progressive illness. Its symptoms can be easily treated, especially in the early stages of development. Since an answer has not (yet) been found to explain why the nerve cells die, there is currently no cure.

Patient care network (vertical network):

The vertical network comprises university, municipal and specialist clinics, rehabilitation centers, medical specialists, general practice physicians and patient self-help groups. 24 clinics are currently part of the network. University clinics in Marburg, Munich, Kiel, Bonn and Dresden act as coordination centers for 19 regional centers distributed throughout Germany. Health insurance companies and industry are also represented in the vertical network. The network supports research into patient care, as well as basic and clinical research. It aims to transfer relevant knowledge to medical practitioners and to introduce university clinics to new ideas generated through primary care.

Research network (horizontal network):

Close networking between the various institutions allows examinations at different facilities to be conducted using a standardized approach. Issues related to specific subject areas can be discussed by a wide circle of experts and, where appropriate, a large pool of patients can be studied in seeking answers to the questions raised.

Work within the research network is carried out in individual projects covering basic research, diagnostics and therapy:

  • Ongoing development of a centralized, web-based data entry patient database.
  • Ongoing development of a gene bank.
  • Establishment of a decentralized brain bank in cooperation with BrainNet.
  • Long-term study to determine the effectiveness of deep brain stimulation.
  • Multi-center studies of various therapy strategies.
  • Early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and Dementia with Lewy Bodies.
  • Economic analysis of the cost-of-care of Parkinson’s disease by general practice physicians, specialists, special Parkinson disease clinics, municipal clinics and university clinics.



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