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The Norwegian Centre for Movement Disorders

The PRO-LBD-study

Early detection, prognosis, and biomarkers of prodromal Lewy Body Diseases

Both Parkinson’s disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) share pathological characteristics, marked by dopaminergic loss in the basal ganglia and abnormal alpha-synuclein aggregation, forming Lewy bodies throughout the brain. Despite these similarities, the precise mechanisms triggering these diseases, collectively known as Lewy body diseases (LBDs), remain elusive. 

PD and DLB clinically present with progressive motor and cognitive decline, alongside various non-motor issues like autonomic, sleep, and neuropsychiatric symptoms. Increasing evidence suggests that the defining symptoms of LBDs are preceded by a pre-diagnostic period that might last years or even decades. This lengthy prodromal phase offers a unique window to observe, track, and dissect early neurobiological changes, while individuals have only mild symptoms such as impaired smell, constipation, low mood, anxiety, or abnormal dream enactment during sleep. 

PRO-LBD Study: A Ten-Year Exploration 

The PRO-LBD-study, a 10-year prospective longitudinal cohort study (with the possibility for extension), plans to recruit a minimum of 100 individuals with assumed high (n=80) or low (n=20) risk for phenoconversion to LBD. Participants undergo an initial screening phase, followed by regular comprehensive assessments of key motor and non-motor symptoms associated with LBD. In addition, imaging will gauge early structural and functional brain and eye changes, while biochemical and genetic analyses of blood, cerebrospinal fluid, and other biological samples will explore alterations linked to neurodegeneration and phenoconversion in at-risk individuals. 

Advancing Early Detection and Prediction  

The PRO-LBD study represents an innovative approach to enhance our understanding of early pathological mechanisms in LBD development. It aims to unearth objective markers for detecting prodromal disease and predicting phenoconversion in at-risk individuals. This research holds promise in unveiling crucial insights into the intricate landscape of Lewy body diseases. 

Status and opportunities 

As of Autumn 2023, The ProLBD study has screened more than 300 individuals and invited 10% to join the longitudinal study program.

The study is actively recruiting. If you’re interested to be part of the discovery, learn more here: Vil du delta i viktig forskning på hjernesykdommer? (helse-stavanger.no), (page in Norwegian).

We are also interested in collaborating with other prodromal PD studies. Please contact jodgro@sus.no

Key funding sources 

The Pro-LBD study is supported by the Western Norway Regional Health Authority and the Norwegian Parkinson’s Research Foundation. 

Last updated 3/6/2024