What are Movement Disorders and Parkinson's?

Parkinson’s disease and associated movement disorders affects nearly 100,000 Canadians, causing tremor, slowness, stiffness, and changes in gait. Parkinson’s results from a loss of cells in the brain from a region called the substantia nigra that produces key neurotransmitters such as dopamine — which is responsible for carrying signals through the body that allow for the coordination of movement. Many people living with Parkinson’s also have non-motor symptoms including: mood disorders, sleep changes, lightheadedness and dizziness, and sometimes changes to bladder function. In some cases, cognitive decline can also lead to dementia.

If you would like to contribute to further research on causes and treatments of Parkinson’s, please visit our donation page.

CaPRI - Calgary Parkinson Research Initiative

The Hotchkiss Brain Institute coordinates the Calgary Parkinson Research Initiative (CaPRI), a research network on movement disorders with partners at the University of Calgary, Campus Alberta Neuroscience, C-OPN, Parkinson Association of Alberta, Quebec Parkinson Network, and Parkinson Canada. The CaPRI network allows understanding of the origins of the disease and its diverse symptoms, as well as developing and testing treatments to address them. 

ACT - Advanced Care Team for Parkinson’s

Our Advanced Care Team specializes in Parkinson’s, multiple system atrophy, progressive supranuclear palsy, movement symptoms of Lewy-body dementia, and corticobasal syndrome—offering precise, compassionate support. Our dedicated team is here to enhance your well-being through personalized care and guidance by tailoring our expertise to meet your unique needs. We approach care through neurology, nursing, psychology, spiritual, and community health.

Research Impact

Parkinson's research

UCalgary scientists discover a way to measure fear of falling

Parkinson’s disease causes one of the highest risks of falling among all neurological conditions. In addition to motor function, these researchers discovered that cognitive function plays an important role, and findings from this study could lead to tailored treatment to improve quality of life.


Can TMS improve brain function for people with Parkinson's disease?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive method to stimulate nerve cells in the brain using a handheld device that produces small electric currents. Researchers explore whether TMS can improve thinking or memory function for people living with Parkinson’s disease.


Using dance as Parkinson’s therapy

Neuroscientists team up with the university’s dance program and Decidedly Jazz Danceworks to help those living with Parkinson’s. The study used weekly dance classes as a therapeutic tool for individuals with Parkinson’s to improve their practical motor skills.

Quick Facts

Quick facts

Understanding Movement Disorders


Causes of Parkinson’s are Unknown

Genetics cause about 10 to 15 percent of all Parkinson's. The other 85 to 90 percent of cases are classified as sporadic (or occasional). Although there is no cure, treatment options vary and include medications and surgery.


People with Parkinson’s can have a good quality life

While medication is the most common treatment, surgical therapy and lifestyle modifications, like rest and exercise, help manage symptoms. Exercise and physical activity can improve many symptoms of Parkinson’s.


Understanding Facial Masking

Many people with Parkinson’s experience reduced facial expression. Often, people will look serious, depressed or mad, but many times it’s just that Parkinson’s is causing muscles in the face to be stiff or take a long time to move.

Research Highlights

Join the Calgary Parkinson's Research Initiative Newsletter

Your source for updates and information on research, events, and opportunities with the Calgary Parkinson's Research Initiative.

Thank you for your submission.