Imaging brain structures involved in human walking with Parkinson’s disease (PD) – Paquette, PhD, Dr Soucy, MD – McGill University

Study title : Imaging brain structures involved in human walking with Parkinson’s disease (PD)

Principal Investigators :

Caroline Paquette, Ph.D., Assistant Professor – Kinesiology and Physical Education, Faculty of Education, McGill University

Dr. Jean-Paul Soucy, M.D., Associate Professor – McConnell-Brain Imaging Centre, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University

Study coordinator : Trina Mitchell

Site :  McGill University / Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education / Montreal Neurological Institute / McConnell Brain Imaging Center

Objectives : With this study, we are investigating which areas of the brain are involved in the control of the walking trajectory. We want to understand how the brain reorganizes with PD to maintain walking capabilities

Summary : Twenty four subjects with PD (n=12 who report freezing of gait and n=12 who do not report freezing of gait) and 12 aged- and gender-matched control subjects will participate in this study. The subjects will each undergo 2 sessions of 18-fluordeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (18F-FDG PET) scanning. This method uses a radiolabeled glucose analogue to allow tracking of glucose metabolism in the brain during the walking tasks. One session will consist of a steered gait task (‘volitional’) and the other will be straight walking (‘automatic’). The straight walking task will be the reference task and will thus be subtracted from the steered gait task to reveal brain activations/deactivations specific to steering of locomotion. Last, an anatomical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan will be obtained to specify regions of increased and decreased glucose metabolism.



The participation in this study will involve 3 visits as described below.

Visit 1 (duration: 1.5 h): To fill various questionnaires and forms (such as this consent form), schedule upcoming visits and tour the research premises. The goal of this visit is to ensure that you can walk our obstacle course for 30 minutes and that there are no reason why you could not participate in this study.

Visits 2 & 3 (duration: 2 h each): The goal of those visits is to take images of your brain while you are walking. During one of the visits we will ask you to walk a straight path and to walk around obstacles in the other visit. These visits will be separated by at least 1 week.

two different types of imaging techniques will be used:

-       PET (Positron Emission Tomography) to be done in both visits 2 and 3.

-       MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) to be done one time only in visit 3.