New Study Leverages Real-World Data to Assess Differences in Parkinson’s Progression

Recent research assessed the differences in Parkinson’s disease progression between research populations and real-world data. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that affects the nervous system and body parts controlled by the nerves.

Illness-modifying treatments haven’t been successful for Parkinson’s, with some therapies that have shown promise in trials failing at later stages.

The primary challenge to developing illness-modifying treatments for this particular condition is the fact that molecular processes that drive pathogenesis haven’t been understood properly. Additionally, diverse ages on the condition’s onset and different progression patterns indicate heterogeneity.

For their research, the scientists used Harvard Biomarkers studies and Fox Insight longitudinal health as their research population datasets. Cohorts under these datasets comprised 36,660 and 935 participants, respectively

Data from the real world included electronic medical records from Mass General Brigham and Optum Claims. Cohorts under these datasets were made up of 22,949 and 157,475 individuals respectively.

The progression of Parkinson’s was assessed using common scales such as Hoehn & Yahr (H&Y), unified PD rating scale (UPDRS), Montreal cognitive assessment (MoCA) and the mini-mental-state examination (MMSE). These measures were compared between Mass General Brigham and Harvard Biomarkers studies by differentiating patients based on the time from initial diagnosis.

Researchers determined that real-world populations had a higher age at Parkinson’s diagnosis in comparison to the research populations, namely 72.2 years to 60.4 years. They also found that in the first five years, MMSE scores were considerably higher in Harvard Biomarkers than Mass General Brigham.

The scientists then evaluated survival against significant clinical events such as depression, H&Y stage 3, levodopa initiation, dyskinesias and discharge to long-term care. They discovered that research populations, especially the cohort under Fox Insight, started their medications considerably earlier than the other cohorts. Individuals in the Mass General cohort started their Parkinson’s medications later, with scientists observing an overlap in levodopa initiation in the research populations.

They also observed that in comparison to the Mass General Brigham cohort, the Optum cohort demonstrated significantly higher and earlier incidence of depression, fractures and falls. Additionally, in comparison to research populations, real-world populations met the cognitive decline definition much sooner following diagnosis. In their report, the scientists defined cognitive decline as a mild cognitive impairment diagnosis.

In their conclusion, the team highlighted that its findings provided detailed insights into how Parkinson’s progressed in different populations. The research findings were published in the “Nature” journal. Researchers included Brett K. Beaulieu-Jones, Sylvie Bozzi, Francesca Frau, M. Judith Peterschmitt, Caroline Cohen, Karen J. Chandross, Dinesh Kumar, Catherine Coulovrat, Scott L. Lipnick, Isaac S. Kohane, Mark J. Kruger, Lane Fitzsimmons and Clemens R. Scherzer.

Entities such as Clene Inc. (NASDAQ: CLNN) are also devoting research dollars to finding better treatments for Parkinson’s disease. The future promises to be better for patients because there are hopes that the treatment options available to them will increase.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Clene Inc. (NASDAQ: CLNN) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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