Jessamyn (Jess) McKenzie has worked at the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre as a nurse research coordinator in the PET imaging program since 1997. In this time she feels fortunate to have worked with a wonderful team of people under the direction and leadership of Dr. A. Jon Stoessl and Dr. Vesna Sossi on a variety of academic projects investigating the characterization, progression, and complications of Parkinson’s disease. Tracer studies investigating sleep, mood, memory, inflammation, impulsivity, inflammation and the interactive behaviors of the various neurotransmitters using PET are employed in pursuit of a better understanding of this disease.
The team remains interested in the effects of lifestyle factors and one of the more recent projects has been looking at the effect of exercise upon brain behavior. Some of the longer ongoing work is with families affected by Parkinson’s disease over many years to record brain behavior and corresponding clinical behavior to identify disease pattern behavior and how it may apply in the general population. Finally, PET imaging has periodically been used in clinical trials over the years as a measure of efficacy for various procedures and drugs.
Jess is grateful to the team effort of all the people who support these studies in one form or another.