Cognitive impairment and dementia are a top concern for people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

The University of Queensland (UQ), with Johns Hopkins University, is running a study titled Therapy to Reduce dementia Risk in Parkinson’s disease (TRIP),

The study is investigating the use of a drug, traditionally used for epilepsy, to treat early-stage memory problems in Parkinson’s disease. The end goal is to reduce the risk of dementia in people living with Parkinson’s disease, who have a significantly greater chance of developing dementia than the average older adult.

UQ is seeking older adults (no age limits) both with and without Parkinson’s disease to participate in the study.

Study rationale

Dementia is common at advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease. With it comes lower quality of life, increased financial burden, and early institutionalization. Yet unfortunately, there  are currently no known effective treatments to treat or reduce  the risk of dementia in Parkinson’s disease.

Study objective

The TRIP study aims to:

  1. use neuroimaging of the brain to develop a marker for future dementia risk in Parkinson’s disease and
  2. test whether a drug (levetiracetam) can improve memory problems and reduce dementia risk in people living with Parkinson’s disease.

Potential impact

Through this research we hope to produce evidence for a new therapy to reduce dementia risk in Parkinson’s disease.

If this initial trial is successful, this will lead to a larger international trial to develop levetiracetam as a treatment in Parkinson’s disease. However, regardless of the outcome, the TRIP study will help us understand more about cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease. In particular, we will learn about the brain mechanisms behind the memory problems experienced by many people living with Parkinson’s disease.

Eligibility Criteria

  • People living with Parkinson’s disease
  • No Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), pacemaker, or othermetal in the body (if unsure, feel free to ask the studycoordinator)
  • Fluent in English

UQ is also recruiting older adults without Parkinson’s disease or memory problems as a comparison group. Study duration All older adults without memory problems without memory problems will be required to make three (3) study visits over two (2) weeks.

People with memory problems will be required to make six (6) study visits over twelve (12) weeks.

Study procedures

People without memory problems will complete cognitive, which is located on the RBWH Campus’ after UQCCR psychological, and motor symptom tests, and then complete a memory test during an MRI scan.

People living with Parkinson’s disease and memory problems will complete cognitive, psychological and motor symptom tests, as well as a medical assessment and blood test.

Once enrolled in the clinical trial, people with memory problems will have two rounds of treatment – one where they take the drug (levetiracetam) and one where they take a placebo (an inactive ingredient, like sugar).

At the end of each treatment, they will complete a memory test during an MRI scan.

Participant resources All study assessments are provided at no cost, and a $50 travel reimbursement is available for each visit to UQCCR. Participants will also receive education and support from the study team throughout the study period.


If interested contact study co-ordinator Dana Pourzinal Level 5, UQ Centre for Clinical Research (UQCCR) Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital Campus Herston, QLD 4029

T: 07 3346 5028