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Photo of actor Alan Alda, by Larry Engel, 2008
Photo of actor Alan Alda (MASH)
by Larry Engel, 2008

Help Fight Parkinson's Disease!
Progress in medical science depends on people who volunteer to participate in research. At our lab, healthy young and older adults contribute their time for studies designed to understand how the brain functions normally. These findings allow results obtained from people with Parkinson's disease to be interpreted in a meaningful way. The goal is purely to understand the parts of the brain that can malfunction in Parkinson's disease. None of our current research is intended to test treatments.

What Will Happen in the Experiment?
Typically, the subjects in our studies look at a computer screen and then quickly press a button in response to what they see. For some experiments, only these reaction time responses are measured. In other studies, the subject wears an elastic cap (see picture) that holds sensors onto the scalp to measure brain waves. In still others, the subject performs the key-press task while lying inside a brain scanner, an MRI machine. The experiments usually last between 1 and 3 hours.

How Much Does it Pay?
Not much, and for undergraduates who volunteer to fulfill course requirements, nothing at all. Patients and older control subjects receive a small, per hour, payment. Hotel accommodations and travel expenses are sometimes available for patients coming from out of town. Most participants feel that the knowledge that they have contributed to biomedical science is the main benefit.

How Do I Sign Up?
Call or send Dr. Hackley, the lab director, an e-mail. Either he or one of the researchers at the lab will respond promptly. Dr. Hackley's office phone is (573) 882-3277, and his e-mail address is HackleyS@Missouri.edu. If you are an undergraduate student in a Psychology class at M.U., sign up via the web site indicated by your instructor.

Where Should I Go?
Most of the studies take place in the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience Lab, which is in Room 108 of the Psychology Building at M.U. This building is located at 200 South 7th Street, in downtown Columbia. For directions, click on this link and then type in the street address, followed by "Columbia, MO": http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl.

If you are scheduled for an MRI test, you should instead go to the Missouri Brain Imaging Center, which is located on Providence Road, across from the football stadium. Click on this link for more information: (http://bic.missouri.edu/).