National PADRECC Web Site
VA Establishes Six Parkinson’s Disease Centers
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) took a major step toward improving patient care and pursuing a cure for Parkinson’s disease by establishing six Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Centers (PADRECCs).
Operating as a national consortium, each PADRECC conducts research covering basic biomedicine, rehabilitation, health services delivery, and clinical trials. Each is participating in a landmark clinical trial to assess the effectiveness of surgical implantation of deep brain stimulators in reducing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is a serious health problem in the United States. It is estimated that up to 1.5 million Americans have the disease and that approximately 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. VA medical centers treat at least 40,000 Parkinson’s disease patients every year.
Parkinson’s disease, one of the more common neurological diseases, is slowly progressive and caused by degeneration of brain cells in a region of the midbrain that produces the neurotransmitter dopamine. Symptoms include tremors, slowness of movement, stiffness of limbs, and problems with gait and balance. At present there is no cure, but treatments do exist and are available.