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Movement Disorders - Parkinson’s Disease & Essential Tremor

The Movement Disorders Division within the Yale Department of Neurology comprises physicians and scientists dedicated to the recognition, evaluation, treatment, and understanding of the full range of hypokinetic and hyperkinetic movement disorders. The group provides consultations and care for patients with Parkinson's disease and related illnesses, tremor disorders (esp. essential tremor), Huntington’s disease and other choreas, dystonias, tic disorders, myoclonus and other movement disorders either caused by primary nervous system dysfunction or secondary to medical illnesses and medications including tardive dyskinesias. The group has a special interest in tremor disorders, primary and secondary ataxias, gait disorders, restless legs syndrome and stiff-person syndrome. The specialists also provide inpatient consultation to physicians at Yale–New Haven Hospital for the aforementioned movement disorders.

The treatment strategies include application of state of the art medications for treatment of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. The program also includes use of botulinum toxins for treatment of a variety of movement disorders. Within the Yale Movement Disorders Division is the Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Clinic, which provides patient screening before DBS surgery for refractory symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and dystonias. In this clinic, the movement disorder specialists work closely with the stereotactic neurosurgeons at Yale in preparation for DBS surgery and conduct DBS device programming and adjustments after surgery. The recently established Restless Leg Foundation Certified Quality Care CenterStatus for Excellence provides multi-disciplinary care for patients with this disorder.

We have several ongoing clinical research studies, and all patients have the option to participate in one or more clinical trials. We are also an active teaching clinic, providing ongoing education in the area of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders to medical students, neurology and medical residents, and visiting faculty. We also have a fellowship program and train fellows in all aspects of movement disorders.

Research

The high prevalence of movement disorders throughout the world means that a large number of people are afflicted with diseases that are characterized by involuntary movements (e.g. essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease, tics, dystonia, restless legs syndrome). Clinical research in the Movement Disorders division takes on a number of forms, including research on the clinical features, epidemiology, genetics, neuroimaging characteristics, and pathological mechanisms of these disorders. All of the clinical research in the division involves the participation of patients who have involuntary movements. The bulk of current clinical research relates to Parkinson’s disease. Clinical studies in the division also extend to the area of experimental therapeutics, where a number of treatment trials are currently underway.

Measuring Synaptic Density in Parkinson's Disease with SV2A PET Imaging

Synaptic changes play a critical role in the pathogenesis and progression of PD. This study investigates the changes in synaptic density in individuals with PD by using positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with 11C-UCB-J, a recently developed PET radiotracer that binds to the synaptic vesicle glycoprotein, 2A.

Movement Disorders Faculty