National PADRECC Home Page
VA Establishes Six Parkinson's Disease Centers
Parkinson's disease (PD) is one of the most common neurologic disorders. It affects roughly 1.5 million Americans. The main signs are tremor, stiffness of the body, slowness of movement, and difficulty with balance. It is believed to be caused by a deficiency of a brain chemical called dopamine. Although there is no cure for PD at the present time, some medication and surgical treatments can dramatically improve many of the symptoms.
The Veterans Health Administration treats an estimated 40,000 veterans with PD each year. In 2001, the Department of Veterans' Affairs strengthened its commitment to veterans with Parkinson's Disease (PD) and related movement disorders by establishing the Parkinson's Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center (PADRECCs) network. This network supports six PD Centers of Excellence located in Portland/Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Richmond, and Philadelphia (see map). Each PADRECC is designed to deliver state-of-the art clinical care, innovative research, and outreach and education programs to its surrounding region, also referred to as their "service area".
The PADRECC teams are considered leaders in the fields of PD and related movement disorders. They are composed of expert neurologists, neurosurgeons, nurses and researchers as well as consulting clinicians from various fields of healthcare. This structure allows all aspects of PD to be addressed at every visit.
Highlights of the clinical, education, and research activities conducted by the PADRECCs are listed below:
The PADRECCs deliver a variety of clinical services, including specialty clinics to diagnose and treat movement disorders, research clinics to determine eligibility of clinical trials, pre-surgical clinics to determine eligibility of surgical options, and telemedicine consultation.
Please visit your local PADRECC website for more information on unique clinical services offered by each Center.
The PADRECCs are actively involved in educational activities to raise awareness of PD and related movement disorders. Educational initiatives for patients and their families include but are not limited to monthly support groups, disease focused conferences, and the distribution of educational materials. Educational initiatives for healthcare professionals include but are not limited to national VA broadcasts, quarterly eCommunique distribution, journal clubs and case conferences, and scholarly articles and chapters.
Please visit your local PADRECC website for unique program activities offered by each Center.
The key to discovering new ways to control, delay and eventually cure PD is by testing new therapies and theories. Research areas being conducted by the PADRECCs include but are not limited to: surgical interventions (The PADRECCs are conducting a national study to better understand deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the treatment of Parkinson's disease); drug therapies; gait and falling issues; depression and other psychiatric problems; non-motor fluctuations; basic science (laboratory); and olfactory function (sense of smell in PD).
How to Make an Appointment
For information about how to make an appointment, please visit our Getting Care page.
Who is Eligible for Care at the PADRECC?
The PADRECCs offer care to all veterans currently enrolled in the VA Healthcare System. This includes veterans who have been previously diagnosed with PD or veterans who have just started to notice Parkinson-like symptoms. We also treat veterans who have been diagnosed with other movement disorders, such as essential tremor.