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Parkinson’s Disease study looking for volunteers

Media release

A Curtin University PhD student is calling for volunteers with Parkinson’s Disease to take part in a clinical trial of Cognitive-Behavioural Treatment (CBT) specifically targeting anxiety and depression.

Anxiety and depression affects up to 75 per cent of people with Parkinson’s Disease, and has been linked with a faster progression of motor symptoms, poorer quality of life and greater cognitive decline.

CBT addresses negative thinking patterns and has been shown to be a very effective non-drug treatment for anxiety and depression in many different groups of people.

Lakkhina Troeung, a PhD student from Curtin’s School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, has developed a CBT program for treating anxiety and depression in people diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

She said the aim of her study was to examine the effectiveness of this type of treatment.

“Our clinical trial has been running over the past 12 months and the initial results are very positive. However, we still need more volunteers to take part in order to get a clear picture of the CBT program’s effectiveness,” Ms Troeung said.

Dr Sarah Egan, Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology and Speech Pathology and supervisor of the study, said treating anxiety and depression in Parkinson’s Disease sufferers had been shown to significantly improve their quality of life.

“A program like this can improve quality of life for people with Parkinson’s as it can help them find the best ways to cope with the adaptations they need to make to their daily life and adjust to the stress of the illness,” Dr Egan said.

The treatment consists of eight sessions once a week and will be tailored to include specific Parkinson’s Disease issues.

The treatment program is run by two clinical psychologist trainees under the direct supervision of a registered clinical psychologist. It will involve a number of activities and discussions where participants will learn new skills and strategies to help combat their anxiety and depression.

Participants will also be asked to complete a set of questionnaires four times throughout the study. The results of the study will be published in a PhD thesis.

Potential volunteers can contact Lakkhina Troeung at the Curtin Psychology Clinic on 9266 3436 or email lakkhina.troeung@postgrad.curtin.edu.au

Contact:

Lakkhina Troeung, PhD Candidate, School of Psychology, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 3436, Email: lakkhina.troeung@postgrad.curtin.edu.au

Kristy Jones, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 9085, Mobile: 0402 517 300, Email: k.jones@curtin.edu.au

Web: http://curtin.edu.au