Medical Field: Neurology
Award: Finalist
Country: Slovenia
Year: 2020
Research Work: Sex Differences in Parkinson’s Disease: A Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Study
Published in: Movement Disorders


Research is conducted in free time

Kaja Kolmančič, MD, a resident of nuclear medicine from the Department of Nuclear Medicine of the University Medical Centre Ljubljana, is happy to be placed in the finals of this year's IMA, as in her eyes this is additional attention to the topic or problem she is researching with her team.

In her opinion, the conditions for research work in Slovenia are difficult, as research work next to clinical activities takes place mainly in free time.

Physicians who are at the same time engaged in research activity should have a specific number of hours devoted to clinical work within regular working hours, and separate hours devoted to research activity,

she believes and explains that in their study they wanted to prove neurophysiological differences between the sexes in the initial stage of Parkinson’s disease. They established that female patients in the early stages of the disease are more protected or better compensate for the loss of dopamine neurons than male patients.

I hope that our study will help patients both directly and indirectly through better knowledge of the pathophysiology of the disease. Because we have confirmed the differences between the sexes in Parkinson’s disease, we are therefore more careful in identifying (and thus treating) the symptoms or signs which are more specific to the patient’s sex. We will more easily advise our patients and use existing medicines in a more targeted way. Indirectly, the discovered functional differences also make us think about the different pathophysiology of the disease in each sex. We hope that by further exploring the mechanism of sex differences, we will one day develop more patient-adapted forms of treatment. At the same time, all further studies should consider sex as an important factor in the studied phenomena and results,

Dr. Kolmančič explains the results of the research and their applicability, and continues that there has been great progress in neurology in recent years, especially in early diagnosis of the diseases and the detection of specific markers of the diseases. New therapeutic methods have also been discovered to alleviate the symptoms and signs of the disease, all of which significantly improve the quality of life. The biggest breakthrough, however, was in the treatment of certain children’s muscular dystrophies which can already be cured with gene therapy.

In her free time, the young research doctor likes to listen to good music and enjoy the company of her loved ones.