Parkinson’s Disease research

Thanks to funding from Southmead Hospital Charity we are researching new approaches to slow down, stop or even reverse the progression of Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s is a neurological disorder affecting 127,000 people in the UK. Research into approaches to slow down, stop or even reverse the progression of Parkinson’s has accelerated in recent years and there are many potentially pioneering research trials happening at North Bristol NHS Trust thanks to funding from Southmead Hospital Charity.

The team

Dr Alan Whone

The Bristol Movement Neuroscience Group, based at the Bristol Brain Centre, at Southmead Hospital, is led by Dr Alan Whone, a Consultant Senior Lecturer in Movement Disorders Neurology at the University of Bristol and Honorary Consultant Neurologist at Southmead Hospital.

As well leading the regional Movement Disorders clinical service, Dr Whone has more than 15-years’ experience of research in the field. His research interests aim to address unmet symptom needs, to help people with Parkinson’s live better today, and develop new disease-slowing or disease-reversing therapies.

Dr Michal Rolinski

Dr Rolinski is a National Institute of Health Research Academic Clinical Lecturer and an Honorary Specialist Registrar in Neurology. Dr Rolinski’s research aims to develop tests that allow the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in its earliest stages, even before the core symptoms of slowness, stiffness or tremor emerge. Diagnosis at this stage, known as prodromal Parkinson’s, would allow treatments to start before too much irreversible damage has been done.

Collaborative working

The work of the team is supported by many national and international collaborators, including the University of Bristol, the University of Cardiff, the University of British Columbia, Canada, and Professor Walter Maetzler, from the Center of Neurology of the University Hospital of Tuebingen in Germany.


Giving hope

Thanks to a generous donation to Southmead Hospital Charity by the Jane Telling Fund, we can support research projects that make use of innovations in an advanced computer analysis method called machine learning – or Artificial Intelligence (AI) – to track changes in Parkinson’s over time which will allow clinicians to pick up very subtle abnormalities in movement that may suggest the earliest stages of Parkinson’s disease.

It will also allow the way the disease progresses to be tracked and measured for their response to potential treatments. Developments made as part of this project will be directly transferable to other neurological disorders, such as stroke or dementia. We want to continue to fund these vital research projects to give people with Parkinson’s hope for the future.


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