WACO, TX (FOX 44) – The Heart O’ Texas Parkinson’s and Caregivers Support Group met this month to learn about new research on cognitive functions for Parkinson’s disease.

The research is a part of a multi-year study being done by Baylor professor, Dr. Jungjun (Peter) Park.

Phase one in Park’s study measures cognitive skills with tests on memory, attention, and executive functioning.

Phase two moves into more auditory tests.

“Bring in some beats, what sounds they’ll be, clapping their hands or tapping the table so they can increase their general attention to this type of non linguistic auditory stimuli,” said Dr. Park.

Park has been a Baylor University professor for 15 years.

His multi-year study measures cognitive decline patterns for people with Parkinson’s in comparison to those undiagnosed.

“We are wanting to help the person or the participants increase their general attention level for any kind of day to day tasks,” said Park.

President of the Heart O’ Texas Parkinson’s and Caregivers Support Group, Caren Phillips wanted Dr. Park to speak to give the group some hope for the future.

“It’s new research ongoing that hasn’t been done before and not just here in Waco,” said Phillips. “There are studies going on all over the United States, and I think around the world.”

Phillips takes care of her husband who has Parkinsons, and says Park’s research will be able to impact anyone diagnosed with a focus on activity in the pre-frontal cortex.

She also mentions it being a step in the right direction moving away from the old practice of prescribing levodopa.

“The problems of Parkinson’s are so widespread that if you know one Parkinson’s patient, that’s all you know is one Parkinson’s patient,” said Phillps. “Everybody is different, and the progression of the disease is not the same for everybody.”

Park is still seeking volunteers with and without Parkinson’s to help in his two phase study.

To get involved, click here.