Both diseases take tolls -- emotional and financial -- that will increase dramatically as our population ages. In President Obama's State of the Union address, he called for a 10-year project to map the human brain. Excellent news! Obama's administration hopes to announce soon its intention to assemble the pieces -- including funding, the trickiest element these days -- for the decade-long project.
I've always wondered what a cost/benefit analysis would show for the space station and the "Race to the Moon." I don't see how the billions of dollars spent on these projects have benefited us, with the exception of NASA's employees and contractors.
It seems to me we'd all benefit a lot more from mapping the brain rather than the moon. But that's a debate for another day.
For now, here's a good summary of the current status of Parkinson's research.
From NIH's Fact Sheet on Parkinson's: