Research Agenda Created for Women Living with Parkinson's Disease

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Parkinson's Foundation Women and Parkinson’s Initiativeis the first patient-centered action agenda for improving quality of life for women with Parkinson's disease. The program addresses long-standing gender disparities in Parkinson's research and care.

In the past 2 years, the Parkinson's Foundation hosted 10 regional forms and 1 national forum that brought together women with Parkinson's and healthcare providers to discuss research and care. Those collaborations led to the agenda, “Women and Parkinson’s: Closing the Gender Gap in Research and Care.”

The agenda identifies 9 priorities, including ensuring that research is relevant to women, understanding why women are at reduced risk for the disease, sharing decision-making tools for better communication and treatment, and giving women resources early in their diagnosis to help them maintain their desired quality of life.

“Historically, Parkinson's care has been based on research that has focused too narrowly on men or has neglected to consider relevant gender differences,” said Allison W. Willis, MD, MS, assistant professor of neurology and epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania. "The Parkinson's Foundation is defining gender-specific research and care practices and working with healthcare professionals to improve care provided to women with Parkinson's."  

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