My research compared healthy participants who are at an increased risk for the future development of Parkinson’s disease based on their genetic status (G2019S LRRK2, GBA), using both structural and functional imaging.

A recurrent finding was the utilization of compensatory mechanisms in the carrier groups in order to perform tasks to the same degree as non-carriers.

Neural Assessment of 'at risk' subjects for the future development of Parkinson disease

In conclusion, while at risk mutation carriers function as well as non carriers on these fMRI tasks, they recruit and utilize different cerebral mechanisms including wider cortical activations and higher functional connectivity. These can be regarded as compensatory and should be a target for further research in order to prolong the non-manifesting state.

DR. AVNER THALER (MD, PhD) 

Dr. Thaler is currently a movement disorders fellow at the Tel-Aviv Medical Center. He graduated from the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, in 2008. He completed his PhD in 2014, which focused on imaging genetically based "at risk" subjects for the future development of Parkinson's disease, and finished his residency in neurology at the Tel-Aviv Medical Center in 2015. Dr. Thaler currently combines clinical work in the field of movement disorders with imaging research.