Joel S Perlmutter, MD

Elliot H. Stein Family Chair in Neurology. Professor of Radiology, Neuroscience, Physical Therapy

We are engaged in several studies of Parkinson Disease (PD). We investigate mechanisms of action of deep brain stimulation, a dramatic treatment for PD. These studies combine PET, cognitive testing and quantified measures of movement. We also test new drugs that might rescue injured nigrostriatal neurons (using an animal model of PD). For these, we use PET to measure dopamine pathways and also quantify motor behavior. We are developing new PET (positron emission tomography) and MR(magnetic resonance)-based neuroimaging biomarkers for measuring PD progression. We also trying to develop a PET-based method to diagnose the cause of dementia in people with PD (comparing cognitive, clinical, PET imaging and pathologic data).

We are using PET, MRI, cognitive, genetic, pathologic and clinical assessments to investigate the causes of dementia in people with Parkinson disease. We are also working on developing neuroimaging diagnostic tools for diagnosing the specific cause of dementia in individuals with PD.

We use PET to measure radioligand binding and sensorimotor processing in dystonia. We developed a new animal model of dystonia to investigate pharmacologic and physiologic changes. We use PET to investigate drug-mediated pathways in the brain and parse out the effects of selective dopaminergic agonists.