Dr. Mark Kelly is a researcher at the Oxford Parkinson’s Disease Centre. He qualified at Trinity College Dublin and is currently training in general medicine with a keen interest in neurology and Parkinson’s disease. His research with the Oxford Discovery Project, led by Professor Michele Hu, focuses on the side effects of dopaminergic therapies, including impulse control behaviours, exploring the predictors of the effects, and clinically characterizing the impact they have on patients.
Impulse control behaviours are a common side effect of dopaminergic medication in Parkinson’s, characterized by their reward-based, repetitive natures and include pathological gambling, hypersexuality, compulsive shopping, binge-eating, and others. These impulsive behaviours can cause significant psychological, social, and even financial harm to both patients themselves and those close to them but have also been linked to productive characteristics such as creativity. While a lot is known about the prevalence of these behaviours, there has been little objective assessment of their severity, their impact on quality of life, and the clinical significance of milder, ‘subsyndromal’ behaviours.
This lecture explores what we know so far about impulse control behaviours in Parkinson’s and takes a look at work being carried out by the Oxford Discovery Project to better understand these effects. This knowledge helps not only in better directing available therapies, but also improves our understanding of some of the underlying pathological processes involved in Parkinson’s.