Parkinson’s, Genes & Environment (PAGE)
The Parkinson’s, Genes & Environment (PAGE) study is designed to investigate the roles of diet, lifestyle, environmental factors and genes in Parkinson’s disease (PD) and their potential interactions in causing the illness. The study participants were originally recruited for cancer research by the National Cancer Institute— the National Institutes of Health-American Association of Retired Persons (NIH-AARP) Diet and Health Study . The NIH-AARP cohort recruited over half a million participants in 1995 and had prospectively collected detailed information on diet and lifestyle.
Honglei Chen, M.D., Ph.D., and collaborators are currently conducting phase I of the PAGE study (PAGE-I). In PAGE-I, the researchers will identify which NIH-AARP participants received a diagnosis of PD during the follow-up and will confirm the diagnoses with their individual neurologists. In addition, they will collect saliva samples from these cases and selected controls that do not have PD. The AARP cohort now has nine years of follow-up and the research team expects to confirm approximately 1,000 incident PD cases and recruit 2,000 selected controls. PAGE-I will enable them to comprehensively examine the roles of diet, lifestyle, and genetic risk factors in the development of PD.
In the second phase of the study (PAGE-II), the researchers plan to collect additional information on environmental exposures from PD cases and selected controls and will try to address some of the most interesting hypotheses on PD etiology, such as pesticide use and risk of PD and how this depends on genetic variations.
PD is the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disease, affecting more than 1 million elderly Americans. The causes of the disease are largely unknown, but may include both genetic and environmental factors. Chen’s research may eventually lead to a better understanding of the causes of PD and potentially new prevention and treatment strategies.