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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Wilcox

The Study to Change it All: PPMI

Updated: Sep 24, 2022

Many of the articles in this blog have been about various factors that influence the likelihood for developing Parkinson’s Disease (PD), but what if we had one study that could determine them all? In 2010 the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) was launched to record data on all stages of PD progression- from people with no PD history to decades post-diagnosis. The study has both a clinical and online portion.

The clinical sites span 33 clinical sites in 11 countries with hundreds of participants. They collected blood urine, cerebro-spinal fluid, MRI data and exam data to create the largest PD biobank ever collated. PPMI has begun collaborating with other organizations that are both contributing to the data collection and the development of therapies. The National Institutes of Health, the Micheal J Fox foundation and the Accelerating Medicines Partnership Parkinson’s Disease are all partners in the project to further its reach and available resources.

The original study had 40 partners and 1,400 participants, and now, with an online data gathering platform, the aim is to gather data from over 100,000 participants. Every night the database is updated so that researchers can have access to the most recent PD data. The study is continuing to recruit new participants to grow its database in order to find factors that will predict who will develop PD and why. If you would like to join the database either as a person with PD or as a healthy control you can do so here:

There are now 313 studies that have been conducted based on the recorded data. Recently in June (2022) a study was conducted using the data to examine the effects of sleep-related disorders on quality of life in people with various stages of PD. They found that people with early and later stage PD were likely to develop sleep behaviour disorders. As the severity of the disorder increased they found a higher incidence of depression (Ma, 2022). The study was able to access autonomous data from 683 participants, comprising both people with PD and controls.

As the PPMI program continues to expand its online database this resource will be able to publish more studies regarding quality of life, pre-PD symptoms and even generate new therapeutic and diagnostic targets.


Ma, J., Dou, K., Liu, R., Liao, Y., Yuan, Z., & Xie, A. (2022). Associations of Sleep Disorders With Depressive Symptoms in Early and Prodromal Parkinson’s Disease. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 14, 898149.

PPMI. (n.d.-a). Retrieved September 22, 2022, from

PPMI: The Study that Could Change Everything | Parkinson’s Disease. (n.d.-b). Retrieved July 1, 2022, from



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