UF researchers earn Parkinson’s Foundation award

(From left) Drs. Adam Woods, Dawn Bowers and Christopher Hess

A group of UF researchers recently received a Parkinson’s Foundation Impact Award to pilot a novel, low-cost intervention for improving motor skills and cognition in individuals with Parkinson disease at the Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases at UF Health.

The project is led by Dawn Bowers, Ph.D., director of the UF Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, and her colleagues Christopher W. Hess, M.D., director of UF’s Movement Disorders Fellowship Program, and Adam Woods, Ph.D., assistant director of the UF Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory Clinical Translational Research Program (CAM Center).

The randomized control trial involves transcranial and intranasal delivery of low-level, near-infrared, or NIR, light over a two-week period. Presumed changes will be tested by neuroimaging procedures, including MRI and MRS.

The intervention is based on positive neuroprotective and disease modifying effects of near infrared (NIR) stimulation in parkinsonian animal models.

Parkinson’s Foundation Impact Awards support “outside the box” projects with the goal of bringing new light to the biology of Parkinson’s, or testing a truly novel therapeutic idea.