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13 Using vision to understand dementia in Parkinson’s disease
  1. Rimona Weil
  1. Consultant Neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery

Abstract

Dr Rimona Weil is a Consultant Neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and a Clinician Scientist. She runs clinics that manage patients with Parkinson’s dementia and Dementia with Lewy Bodies. She studied medicine at Downing College, Cambridge and at UCL, and undertook a PhD in neuroscience at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, UCL. She was awarded a post-doctoral UCL Excellence Fellowship in 2014 to study visual changes in Parkinson’s disease. Currently, she runs a Wellcome-funded longitudinal study on predictors of dementia in Parkinson’s disease, using neuroimaging, retinal and cognitive markers.

Dementia affects around half of all people with Parkinson’s disease by 10 years after diagnosis, but the timing and severity varies between individuals. Currently we lack methods to predict which patients with Parkinson’s disease will develop dementia, and we lack understanding of the anatomical structures that cause dementia in Parkinson’s disease.

We tested visual function in people with Parkinson’s disease, and found that poorer vision related to higher risk of dementia. We then used advanced neuroimaging techniques including measures of brain iron, and structural connectivity to reveal brain regions most vulnerable to degeneration in Parkinson’s disease. I will present recent visual and neuroimaging data that show that brain iron relates to degeneration in Parkinson’s disease and that the longest brain connections are most affected in patients at highest risk of Parkinson’s dementia.

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