To investigate how levodopa and acupuncture affect fatigue and muscle function in people who
suffer from Parkinson's disease. Subjects may choose to participate in levodopa or
acupuncture part, or both. Study procedures include an exercise protocol, transcranial
magnetic stimulation (a non-invasive type of brain stimulation that cause small muscle
twitch), a blood draw, and personality surveys.
Subjects will answer surveys, have their blood drawn, undergo TMS and perform an exercise.
The TMS/exercise task will measure fatigue and muscle response. The surveys will describe
personality and measure fatigue. The CTRC will do genotype studies on the blood to look for
genetic differences. Each subject is eligible to receive both study treatment types
(levodopa and acupuncture). Depending upon the study treatment type they choose, each
subject will be randomly assigned to one of six possible subject groups:
Ia. Full expectancy; levodopa: Subjects will be told that they are taking levodopa.
Ib. Half expectancy; levodopa: Subjects will be told that they have 50% chance of receiving
levodopa or placebo.
Ic. No expectancy; levodopa: Subjects will be told that they are receiving placebo
IIa. Full expectancy; acupuncture: Subjects will be told that they are receiving real
IIb. Half expectancy; acupuncture: Subjects will be told that they have 50% chance of
receiving real or sham-acupuncture.
IIc. No expectancy; acupuncture: Subjects will be told that they are receiving
Subjects will attend four visits for the levodopa part and/or three visits in the
acupuncture part. On the first visit, subjects will answer questionnaires and have samples
of their blood collected. On the other visits, subjects will undergo TMS while they perform
a repetitive exercise task. Subjects will then either wait for 30 minutes or receive the
investigative intervention that they have been randomly assigned for that particular visit,
and then repeat the TMS/exercise task.
- Clinical diagnosis of Parkinson's disease
- Able to withdraw Parkinson's disease medication for 12 hours prior to a study visit
- Must be currently using levodopa to qualify for the levodopa part of the study
- History of seizures
- Presence of any metal in the body, including DBS stimulators, pacemakers, metal
plates or pins
- Severe cognitive deficits or psychosis
- Evidence of any clinically unstable disease, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS; unstable heart
condition or other conditions that might require hospitalization
- Evidence of another neurological disease, such as multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic
lateral sclerosis, or Huntington's disease