Justin Rossi, an M.D.-Ph.D. student in the Departments of Neuroscience and Health Outcomes & Policy, has recently garnered several opportunities to present his burgeoning interdisciplinary research on impulse control disorders (ICDs) in Parkinson’s disease patients and their health outcomes.
“It’s exciting to begin sharing my findings, especially to such diverse communities,” said Rossi. “The conversations that follow are what I look forward to most. They are tremendously motivating.”
Rossi’s research is on health outcomes associated with impulse control disorders, which are characterized by a failure to resist urges, temptations, or other potentially harmful impulses. These impulses commonly manifest as sexual, buying, gambling, and/or eating behaviors that can cause considerable mental distress, diminish quality of life, and negatively affect family and caregivers. They are observed in approximately 15-20 percent of Parkinson’s disease patients.
The mechanisms underlying impulse control disorders in Parkinson’s disease patients are not well understood, but Rossi’s research aims to characterize impulse control disorders among patients receiving deep brain stimulation therapy. He also aims to identify physiological (brain wave) correlates of impulsivity and pinpoint physiological risk factors associated with the development of ICDs following deep brain stimulation.
“Patient reported outcomes can offer tremendous insight into a patient’s condition, especially where neuropsychiatric diseases are concerned,” said Rossi. “When these outcomes are coupled with physiological data, these insights can become even more powerful. This can be a pretty challenging task, though, and it demands a proficiency in both health outcomes and physiology — two disciplines that are rarely found together in a training program. I have been really fortunate to have this complementary training in HOP and neuroscience to enable this integrated project.”
Rossi has been working with Sarah Landsman, assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, as he prepares to introduce his findings to the department in the fall with a presentation tentatively titled, “Neurophysiology and Assessments of Impulse Control Disorder: An Integrated Model for Utilizing Health Outcomes Measurements and Basic Science to Advance Therapy.”
Rossi has already given two oral presentations: one in Orlando, Fla., at the Third Annual Deep Brain Stimulation Think Tank and another in Washington, D.C., at the American Academy of Neurology Annual Conference.
In addition, he will be presenting at two conferences: Clinical Neuroethics: Bench to Bedside in Paris on June 18 and the World Congress on Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorders in London on June 25. These international presentations will be followed by two additional presentations in Chicago, Ill., on Nov. 15 and 18.