I attended this conference composed of 7,000 clinicians, researchers, and patients. This is a huge number of attendees at a conference! I learned a lot about the pathophysiology involved in the Parkinson's disease process and am incredibly excited about using this information for the clinical and research opportunities that could come from this. I traveled to this conference to present my work, in collaboration with Laurie Mischley and Paul Nicolai, on the use of melatonin in Parkinson's Disease patients.
What we found was that there are a number of papers that describe a neurodegerative effect that happens with the use of melatonin in this condition. Now, don't go saying that I think that melatonin is bad. Quite the contrary, the vast majority (by at least 10x) of the papers published on melatonin in PD describe a neuroprotective effect. This raised the question for us, "Why do we continue to see this discrepancy of effect?" Our poster was presented as an initiation into a line of research to explore this topic. Our hypothesis is that the dose of melatonin and the progression of the disease both play roles in the patient response to this hormone. We are currently conducting a study that is tracking PD patients using surveys to ask how they are doing and what they are doing in terms of lifestyle and treatments. We have over 1,000 patients enrolled and have at least 2 years of cumulative data on the first 480 of them. This is a tremendous opportunity to utilize our data to longitudinally track the progress of the patients compared with their treatments. We hope that this will clarify the issue for the benefit of all of those involved.