New research study to help reduce falls

We’ve become the first hospital in the East of England to join Cholinesterase Inhibitors to Prevent Falls in Parkinson’s Trial (CHIEF-PD), which is testing the use of a drug used to treat memory problems to reduce falls.

CHIEF-PD is sponsored by University of Bristol and supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and aims to determine whether cholinesterase inhibitors can prevent falls in people with Parkinson’s disease and to find out whether this treatment is cost effective.

Patients who take part are randomly assigned to receive either the drug or a placebo, and are followed up for a year while on the trial.

Dr A Niruban, a Consultant in Older People’s Medicine, is leading the trial along with Dr Dostal, Consultant Neurologist, and the team are aiming to recruit patients into this NIHR funded study.

He said: “We have five Parkinson’s research studies happening at moment, which are 50/50 split between Older People’s Medicine and the Neurology Department. It is great to be joining this trial and we hope to start seeing results from it later next year.

“There are specific criteria to be involved in this study and at the moment the patient needs to have a diagnosis of Idiopathic Parkinson’s disease, they have had a fall in the last year and no prior diagnosis of dementia. In primary studies (Phase 2) trialling this drug they found that they could reduce the risk of falls by 30 per cent in people with Parkinson’s disease and this is a bigger study (Phase 3) and would be hugely successful if it significantly reduced the risk of falls.”

It is thought around 1 in 500 people are affected by Parkinson’s disease and most people develop symptoms when they are over 50.

Dr Niruban, who joined our hospital in 2013, said that while there was no cure yet for Parkinson’s disease, early diagnosis can help patients to manage their condition.

“There is lots of ongoing research on Parkinson’s disease across the world, but still no breakthrough. Early diagnosis can help so that we can help to maintain patients to be physically well for as long as possible, which definitely helps to maintain a better quality of life, the earlier the diagnosis.

“Exercise is the best thing any Parkinson’s patient can do to help them keep as fit and active as possible. We have a dedicated physiotherapist in our clinic who gives patients exercises to help their condition and occupational therapist who looks at the patient’s care needs, right from the time of diagnosis.”

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