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Welcome to Our Parkinson's Place


I copy news articles pertaining to research, news and information for Parkinson's disease, Dementia, the Brain, Depression and Parkinson's with Dystonia. I also post about Fundraising for Parkinson's disease and events. I try to be up-to-date as possible. I have Parkinson's
diseases as well and thought it would be nice to have a place where
updated news is in one place. That is why I began this blog.
I am not responsible for it's contents, I am just a copier of information searched on the computer. Please understand the copies are just that, copies and at times, I am unable to enlarge the wording or keep it uniformed as I wish. This is for you to read and to always keep an open mind.
Please discuss this with your doctor, should you have any questions, or concerns. Never do anything without talking to your doctor. I do not make any money from this website. I volunteer my time to help all of us to be informed. Please no advertisers. This is a free site for all.
Thank you.


Friday, April 14, 2017

Memorial Hospital offers Parkinson's support group

April 14, 2017



JASPER – Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. Symptoms include tremors or trembling in the hands, arms, legs, jaw or head; rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; slowness of movement; and postural instability or impaired balance. The disease is both chronic, meaning it persists over a long period of time, and progressive, meaning its symptoms grow worse over time. It is estimated that 50,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with this disease that has no cure.
For many, being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease can leave them feeling alone and frightened. The Parkinson’s Disease Support Group at Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center allows these patients and their families to come together to share information and support.
The next support group meeting will be Wednesday, April 19, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in Memorial Hospital’s Medical Arts Building Conference Center, located at 721 W. 13th St. in Jasper.
For more information about the Parkinson’s Disease Support Group, please visit Memorial Hospital’s website at www.mhhcc.org and click on “Classes & Events,” or call Rachel Lampert, Practice Manager, at 812-639-1978 Pre-registration is not necessary and there is no cost.
http://www.washtimesherald.com/community/memorial-hospital-offers-parkinson-s-support-group/article_71891964-0899-51f4-8409-718ab4054b28.html

Hattiesburg artist thrives despite Parkinson's Disease

April 14, 2017

Rebekah Stark Johnson and artist Rob Cunningham visit during a recent reception for his solo art exhibit at Hattiesburg City Hall. Photo credit WDAM.


A Hattiesburg man is creating inspirational works of art while battling a debilitating disease.   
Rob Cunningham suffers from Parkinson's Disease.
It's a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement and speech. 
He was diagnosed in 1989 at the age of 42.  

Cunningham had some training as a photographer before he was diagnosed, but only began painting seriously after he learned he had the disease.
"He sees himself as lucky," said Leisa Reinecke Flynn, Cunningham's wife. "He could've had a worse disease. We've known people with ALS and terrible things and he's really turned it into a new life for himself."
Cunningham is a Florida native who was in the restaurant business before retiring to Hattiesburg.
Today, he's embraced by the Hattiesburg area arts community.  
"He's been part of the Art Walk, he's had paintings down at Main Street Books, he had paintings in the emerging artists show," said Flynn.  
And now, one dozen of his paintings are on display at Hattiesburg City Hall.     
It's his first solo exhibit in the area. 
"I can see with his Parkinson's that just even the steadiness of his hand would be extremely important and he's had this now for 30 years and he's doing great," said Rebekah Stark Johnson, executive director of the Hattiesburg Arts Council.
Cunningham's paintings will be exhibited through mid-May.  

He also has about one hundred paintings on permanent exhibit at a movement disorders clinic in Gainesville, Florida.
http://www.wdam.com/story/35138262/hattiesburg-artist-thrives-despite-parkinsons-disease

Google’s Verily Unveils a Health Watch for Research

By Antonio Regalado  April 14, 2017

The watch collects your heart rate and rhythms, but it only tells you the time and date.  

Verily’s “Study Watch” is a health tracker designed for medical research.


Verily Life Sciences, the health spinout of search giant Google, unveiled a health tracking watch that it plans to deploy in large-scale medical studies.
The gadget, known simply as “Study Watch,” looks like an ordinary wrist watch and has a low-power e-ink type display.

With the watch, Verily says it now has a way to unobtrusively, but continuously, collect physiological data from volunteers. According to Verily, the gadget collects heart rate, electrocardiograms, movement data, as well as a measure of the electrical conductance of the skin. It also detects ambient light and sound.
The watch isn’t for sale. Instead, it an “investigational device” that will be used in clinical studies, including “Baseline,”  Verily’s long-planned effort to discover biomarkers by tracking thousands of healthy people, including as they become ill.
Verily is not currently seeking FDA clearance to market the watch as a medical device. “In the future, we plan to incorporate Study Watch in a broad array of health applications,” the company said in a blog post.
Technology Review first spotted a version of the Googly watch in September on the wrist of Brian Otis, Verily’s chief technical officer, who described it as an effort to make a more practical tracker.
Verily, in its blog post, says although there are already many wearables on the market that the subsidiary had “a specific need outside of these offerings: namely, the scalable collection of rich and complex datasets across clinical and observational studies.”

The problem with most wearables is that people don’t always wear them, especially bulky watches. And a tracking watch left on the dresser at home is useless. To make it user-friendly, Verily said the watch’s battery will last up to a week without a charge and it will be able to store raw data produced over the same amount of time, so it doesn’t have to be synched as frequently.
The watch has a processor that can manage and encrypt a wearer’s data and its software can be updated “over-the-air,” Verily said.

The biggest technical novelty in the Study Watch appears to be its ability to collect an ECG, or electrocardiogram, which can reveal heart abnormalities. Such measurements are taken in hospitals by covering a person with a dozen glue-on electrodes. But it’s also possible to pick up a lower-resolution signal from just two electrical contacts. With this watch, that apparently happens when the user grips the metal bezel with his or her other hand.

Tech companies are not widely trusted to manage health data and their efforts at consumer health products or apps have mostly tanked, or proved of little interest. Instead, they’re learning that participating in research and winning over experts to act as trusted intermediaries is a better starting point.
Beginning in 2015, for instance, Apple released frameworks for the iPhone that researchers can use to run research studies over the phone and later encouraged hospitals to start writing health-tracking apps as well. The Cupertino company’s Apple Watch also measures heart rate and executives have sometimes touted cases where users were tipped off to health emergencies by unusual readings. But so far, neither Apple nor any other company has been ready to say a watch can diagnose any disease.

In Verily’s case, the watch doesn’t even let users see their health data. The only data a user sees from Google’s watch is the date, time, and some instructions.
Verily has announced wide-ranging health plans. It has teamed with partners to develop glucose sensors, self-adjusting contact lenses, bio-electronic devices, and even has a sideline in mosquito control. What most of these efforts have in common is the use of ultra-small electronics and large-scale data collection, a combination which Verily sees as its angle on health care. 

With Study Watch, Verily says its objective is to deploy a “highly scalable” tool that can be used in population studies, in which thousands of people might participate. 

The company says the watch will be used in the Personalized Parkinson’s Project, a two-year study to track the progression of that disease among patients in the Netherlands. It will also be employed in its planned Baseline study, which is an attempt to closely track 10,000 to 20,000 initially healthy people over time.

Bastiaan Bloem, a neurologist who directs the Parkinson Center at Radboud University Medical Center, in the Netherlands, says the Parkinson study, to begin in June, will follow 650 volunteers with an “everything you can measure” approach, including brain scans and blood tests.

The watch is “an exciting way to track people 24 hours in their homes” including how badly or well people sleep, he says. No one has obtained detailed long-term sleep or heart readings on this many Parkinson’s patients before. “We know one of the early symptoms in Parkinson’s is heart rate variability. But we only measure it in the hospital,” he says. “And sleep is something you just can’t grasp in the hospital at all.”

Verily is contributing 650 watches and cash to the $13 million study, which is also supported by Dutch government funds. Bloem says all the data will be freely available but “Verily will have a crack at the data to build algorithms.”  
Bloem expects the data will permit classification of Parkinson’s patients into sub-types who might benefit from different treatments. “We hope to get fine-grained phenotype—people like you, a 50 year old man with red hair, will have this or that outcome, but only if you exercise,” he says.


Bloem says patients who tested prototypes of the watch said they’d be willing to keep it on, including because its looks so completely ordinary. “We work with a lot of wearables, but this one stick outs in terms of user friendliness and the look,” he says.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/604198/googles-verily-unveils-a-health-watch-for-research/

Paul Kent: Manny Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach just keeps on fighting



BY about lunchtime each day the body warms up and the Parkinson’s Disease that attacks his body grows sleepy.
The gym is already humming by then and Freddie Roach has already done the best part of his day’s work, although he will still save his most important work for after lunch when his hands are sharpest.
Roach knows his body is abandoning him. He knows the fight is daily and that the best way he can meet this fight is to rise early to be at his Los Angeles gym by 5am where he will work 12-hour days, sometimes more.
Yesterday he broke for lunch to take a call from Australia.
The big fight is coming up.

A week ago Jeff Horn signed to fight Manny Pacquiao in Brisbane on July 2 and Roach will head to the Philippines in a month to train Pacqiuao before they fly to Brisbane with a fortnight to go.
Roach is not training Pacquiao at the moment because Pacquiao likes only six weeks of padwork and sparring before he gets into the ring. Pacquiao is in the Philippines doing whatever it is he does between fights, which currently ranges from being an elected Senator, chairman of Public Works Committee where he shows considerable promise, to an enthusiastic karaoke singer with no promise at all.
They hope somewhere around 65,000 get along to the fight.
Until then, Roach is in Los Angeles watching film of Horn.
He is one of the last of a generation who like to break down their opponent’s style and give his fighter a gameplan to exploit his opponent’s weakness and in Horn’s past two fights he sees a tough kid he has no doubt Pacquiao will knock out at some point in the fight.
It comes much easier when the instructions are being passed to a fighter like Pacquiao.
Roach says all the right things about Horn. He has five Australians fighting in his gym right now and what he knows of them and what he has seen in Horn’s past two fights changes nothing.
“Horn looks like he’s a tough guy, as are all Australian fighters,” he says.
“That’s what they all have in common, they’re in shape. Jeff Fenech was the role model for that, they work hard and come in shape and were tough.”
Pacquiao, though, is something else. He is like Winx, only with a better left.
He has won 10 titles in eight different divisions and has not fought anyone who could not call himself a world champion for more than a decade.
As far as class goes he is four levels above Horn, who broke into the top 10 several fights back.
Still, Roach is concerned.
And in Horn he sees opportunity.
“Manny hasn’t knocked anyone out in a while and I’m getting a little anxious about that,” he says.
Pacquiao’s knockout came when he put Miguel Cotto down in the 12th in 2009. With each new fight going to the judges his shine has dulled, slightly.
“I’m not sure how long it will last but I can assure you I am looking for a knockout somewhere along the way,” he says.
Pacquiao needs to knock out Horn to continue fighting. Any less and his credentials fall.
“I’m hoping for a knockout,” Roach says.
“I talked to Manny about that. He has about five more years before he can become President and he will probably fight until that happens.”
Unless Horn takes him down.
A lot of flag waving will happen before the fight and by the first bell most Australians will have themselves convinced Horn will win.
But he stays the underdog and that will not change.
Horn’s best chance is that Pacquiao’s decline is greater than we realise and he catches him.
Roach’s job is to deny that. He says Pacquiao stays fit and by the time he comes into camp much of the hard work is already done and his job from there is simply to put the polish on.
Roach is quite possibly the most knowledgeable trainer alive today.
He learned from Eddie Futch, who worked Joe Frazier’s corner and a stack of others. Futch, who would spar with Joe Louis as a young man, has training bloodlines that go back to the old Philadelphia and New York trainers who were the best of their day.
Roach is 57 now and his words increasingly come as a mumble.
How much longer his own fight continues only his body knows.
“It’s the training that keeps me going,” he says.
“It’s lots of hand-eye co-ordination.
“If you lay down and give up on it and don’t stay active it will take over.”
Roach has heard too often the irony of his situation; the cruelty of the sport that has likely caused his Parkinson’s has now become his saviour.
He is too practical to give it any more thought than necessary. There simply isn’t enough time in his life.
What he prefers is to be in the ring, mitts in hand, early in the afternoon when his body feels most free.
His body loosens when the hands go up and Pacquiao thumps into them with the sound of a sharp crack, like when branches break.
In some ways this fight in July is for all these men.
For Pacquiao, who fights for legacy.
For Horn, who fights for future.
And who Roach, who fights, and fights, because that is all he can do.
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/boxing-mma/paul-kent-manny-pacquiaos-trainer-freddie-roach-just-keeps-on-fighting/news-story/fe23332a0aa0e7b005ff5ae33d7ec6ca

Pines of Sarasota Education & Training Institute Releases “Practical Skills for Better Living with Parkinson’s Disease” Program

Sarasota, FL (PRWEB) April 14, 2017 


Pines of Sarasota Education & Training Institute expands its education offerings with the release of its new DVD and Online Video, titled: “Practical Tips for Better Living with Parkinson’s Disease.” 
Produced in partnership with neurologist Dean Sutherland, M.D., Ph.D., and occupational therapist Teepa Snow, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, this new program is an educational toolkit for those affected by Parkinson’s disease: 
In the first workshop, Dr. Dean Sutherland provides the medical foundation necessary to understand what happens in the brain, who is at risk, how it is diagnosed, and which medications or treatments might be helpful. 
In the second workshop, internationally renowned trainer Teepa Snow offers practical techniques to empower caregivers. Using physical and visual cues, caregivers learn how to help a person with PD to overcome freezing, improve walking through rhythm, or how to assist in transferring from standing to sitting without fear or stress.
JoAnn Westbrook, Director of Education, explains: “Living with Parkinson’s disease can be challenging, for both the affected person and caregiver alike. We wanted to create a comprehensive program that gives viewers both the medical as well as practical knowledge needed to improve day-to-day life. Knowing how to utilize rhythm to temporarily improve a person’s walking skills, or how to use touch to trigger a muscular response to help a person sit are skills that will make a vast difference in the quality life of those affected by PD.” 
The workshop is available on DVD and Online Video Streaming. For more information visit https://www.pineseducation.org/product/practical-tips-for-better-living-with-parkinsons-disease/ or call 1-800-672-1310.
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About Pines of Sarasota Education & Training Institute:

Pines of Sarasota Education & Training Institute is the educational department of not-for-profit Pines of Sarasota Rehabilitation and Senior Care Community, providing cutting-edge, specialized education, outreach programs, support, and resources to family members and geriatric caregivers. For more information visit http://www.pineseducation.org.

About Pines of Sarasota:

Pines of Sarasota Rehabilitation and Senior Care Community provides excellent and compassionate inpatient/outpatient rehabilitation services, skilled nursing, memory care, assisted living as well as educational programs for seniors and their families in order to help enhance their quality of life. Pines of Sarasota Rehabilitation and Senior Care Community epitomizes innovative initiatives including; an on-campus child care and learning center which fosters intergenerational interaction and learning; Falls Prevention Programs which help minimize the risk of falling and; a comprehensive Volunteer Program that supports every aspect of campus life. Pines of Sarasota Rehabilitation and Senior Care Community is a not-for-profit organization that leads the way in holistic senior care. For more information visit http://www.pinesofsarasota.org.

About Dean Sutherland, M.D., Ph.D.:

Dr. Sutherland is board-certified in Adult Neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Sutherland earned a Master's degree and Ph.D. in Neuroscience. During this training, Dr. Sutherland received several prestigious awards for teaching from faculty and from peers at FSU and at UF. Today, he is an Assistant Professor and the Clerkship Director for the Clinical Neurology at The FSU College of Medicine in Sarasota. After completing his Ph.D., Dr. Sutherland entered medical school at the University of Florida, where he completed both internship and residency in Neurology. For more information visit http://parkinsonsclinic.com.

About Teepa Snow:

Teepa Snow is a dementia expert who trains and consults for healthcare professionals and families. As a certified Occupational Therapist, and founder of Positive Approach®, Teepa has the unique clinical perspective on how the brain controls our body and our behaviors giving her the perfect perspective to explain how a brain disease like dementia affects a person. For more information visit http://www.teepasnow.com

http://www.pressreleaserocket.net/pines-of-sarasota-education-training-institute-releases-practical-skills-for-better-living-with-parkinsons-disease-program/

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Nanoparticle nasal spray may offer rapid and safe delivery of drugs to the brain

Written by Catharine Paddock PhD
April 13, 2017

Researchers suggest that delivering drugs to the brain using nanoparticles in a nasal spray could be an effective and rapid method capable of overcoming the problem of traversing the blood-brain barrier.


Traversing the blood-brain barrier is a challenge for drug developers. Now, after testing the method in locusts, a team of engineers shows how an aerosol nasal spray containing gold nanoparticles may offer a non-invasive and rapid way to deliver drugs to the brain.

The team - from the University of Washington in St. Louis (WUSTL), MO - describes the proof-of-concept research in the journal Scientific Reports.
For the brain to function, it must operate in a tightly controlled chemical environment that is protected from the more varied fluctuations of the rest of the body.
This stable environment is maintained by the blood-brain barrier, which comprises layers of specialized cells in the inner linings of the small blood vessels in the brain and spinal cord.
The blood-brain barrier prevents toxins from entering the tissues of the brain and spinal cord. Unfortunately, it does the job so well that it also keeps out many drugs, such as those used to kill cancer cells.
One way to overcome this is to deliver drugs to the brain using injections. However, such invasive approaches are risky in that they can damage tissue and have little control over the distribution of the drugs from the point of injection, note the study researchers.
Thus, in a bid to find an effective and less risky alternative, the WUSTL team decided to explore the potential of using nanoparticles to carry drugs to the brain through the nose.

Nose offers easy access to the brain

Interest in using nanotechnology - the ability to control matter at the atomic and molecular scale - to develop new diagnostic tools and treatments is growing, note the authors in their study report.
A number of new nanomaterials have been used to carry drugs to specific targets in organs and tissues. These appear to maximize drug effectiveness while minimizing side effects.
Co-author Barani Raman, associate professor of biomedical engineering, says that the nose offers the shortest - and most likely the easiest - route to the brain.
He and his colleagues note that from various studies, gold nanoparticles have emerged as the material of choice for drug delivery. They are relatively easy to synthesize and customize, and they have good biocompatibility.
The team developed a new aerosol diffusion method that deposits gold nanoparticles in the upper regions of the nasal cavity. They produced the nanoparticles to a controlled shape, size, and surface charge, and tagged them with fluorescent markers so that they could track them.

Locusts offer a good model of the human blood-brain barrier

The researchers tested the effectiveness of the nanoparticle aerosol in locusts because their blood-brain barriers bear similarities to those of humans - especially when going through the nasal route.
Prof. Raman explains that in humans, to reach the brain through the nose, the nanoparticles have to travel through the olfactory bulb and then the olfactory cortex, "two relays and you've reached the cortex," he says.
"The same is true for invertebrate olfactory circuitry," he adds, "although the latter is a relatively simpler system, with [a] supraesophageal ganglion instead of an olfactory bulb and cortex."
The team exposed the locusts' antennae to the aerosol and tracked the progress of the tagged nanoparticles. Within a few minutes, the nanoparticles had traversed the insects' olfactory circuitry, passed through the brain-blood barrier, and suffused the brain tissue.
The team showed that the nanoparticles did not affect the insects' brain function. They measured the electrophysiological responses of the locusts' olfactory neurons before and after treatment and found no discernible difference up to several hours afterwards.
The researchers say that the next stage of their research will be to load the nanoparticles with different drugs and use ultrasound to target precise doses to reach specific areas of the brain. Such methods could potentially make a big difference to the treatment of brain tumors.
"The blood-brain barrier protects the brain from foreign substances in the blood that may injure the brain. But when we need to deliver something there, getting through that barrier is difficult and invasive. Our non-invasive technique can deliver drugs via nanoparticles, so there's less risk and better response times."
Prof. Barani Raman

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/316941.php

Is It Related to PD? Runny Noses, Skin Changes and Overlooked PD Symptoms


Hosted in recognition of Parkinson’s Awareness Month
Who: W. Lawrence Severt, M.D., Ph.D., Attending Neurologist, Mount Sinai
Beth Israel Medical Center and Director, Clinical Development – CNS; Allergan, Inc. Dr. Severt is one of the more than 150 movement disorder specialists nationwide who have undergone Foundation-supported fellowship training at Columbia University Medical Center, a Parkinson's Foundation Center of Excellence, to specialize in PD.
How to Attend: Sign up here to join online or by phone. Keep your confirmation email, which has instructions for joining the day of the live seminar.
CEUs: Are you a health care professional seeking continuing education units? CEUs are managed through PDF's sponsorship of the American Society on Aging. You will receive a link to apply for CEUs within several days of the LIVE seminar and will have up until 30 days to view and apply. An additional 30 days will be needed to process your application.
When: Tuesday, April 18, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM ET
Sign up:  http://event.netbriefings.com/event/pdeb/Live/symptoms2/register.html

PD ExpertBriefingQuestions

Technical:  Contact NetBriefings via Online Help, an Email Form or at 
(651) 225-1532.
About PD (General):Contact PDF at info@pdf.orgor (800) 457-6676.
About CEUs: Contact ASA at (415) 974-9628 

This series has been made possible by educational grants from AbbVie, Inc., ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Lundbeck LLC. It is designed in collaboration with Dallas Area Parkinsonism Society (DAPS); Houston Area Parkinson Society (HAPS); Michigan Parkinson Foundation (MPF); the Neuro Challenge Foundation (NCF); Parkinson Association of the Carolinas (PAC); Parkinson Association of the Rockies (PAR) and Parkinson Support Center of Kentuckiana (PSCKY). 

http://www.pdf.org/parkinson_briefing_overlookedsymptoms?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=general

Parkinson’s stem cell therapy 2.0: New treatment coaxes the brain to repair itself

Knvul Sheikh | April 13, 2017 | Scientific American




For the past five decades pharmaceutical drugs like levodopa have been the gold standard for treating Parkinson’s disease. These medications alleviate motor symptoms of the disease, but none of them can cure it.
Now a study from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm shows it is possible to coax the brain’s own astrocytes—cells that typically support and nurture neurons—into producing a new generation of dopamine neurons.
The reprogrammed cells…could alter the course of Parkinson’s, according to the researchers. “You can directly reprogram a cell that is already inside the brain and change the function in such a way that you can improve neurological symptoms,” says senior author Ernest Arenas, a professor of medical biochemistry at Karolinska.
Directly converting astrocytes already present in patient’s brains could eliminate the need to search for donor cells…[and the treatment may] be less likely to cause side effects compared with current drugs. “This is like stem cell 2.0. It’s the next-generation approach to stem cell treatments and regenerative medicine,” says James Beck, vice president and chief scientific officer, for the nonprofit Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Cell Therapy 2.0: Reprogramming the Brain’s Own Cells for Parkinson’s Treatment- http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nbt.3835.html
https://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2017/04/13/parkinsons-stem-cell-therapy-2-0-new-treatment-coaxes-brain-repair/

Creating a world without Parkinson’s 200 years after ‘An Essay on the Shaking Palsy’

Posted by Mark Staniland | Category: 

A guest blog by James Beck, Ph.D., Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, Parkinson’s Foundation

James Beck, Ph.D., Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, Parkinson’s Foundation


This year, we mark 200 years since James Parkinson published his famous monograph, An Essay on the Shaking PalsyIn that time, we have reached many key milestones in science that have dramatically improved the lives of the ten million people worldwide who live with Parkinson’s.  Yet we still have nothing to slow the disease and nothing to stop it.
At the Parkinson’s Foundation, we consider the bicentennial anniversary of James Parkinson’s work a perfect time to look back at lessons learned and ahead at what’s to come. For example, looking back at the time that has passed since 1817, few milestones have been as monumental as the identification of levodopa byGeorge Cotzias in 1967 and its subsequent confirmation as a life-changing Parkinson’s treatment by Dr. Melvin Yahr in 1968.
Today, our community still relies on levodopa as the gold-standard drug to treat Parkinson’s motor symptoms. Despite the lack of newer drugs, scientific progress has not stopped. In fact, we predict that advances in the next 20 years will likely outpace the progress of the past 200.


As we scan the horizon, we are seeing advances in healthcare and science that will lead to new ways of living better with the disease. The increasing intersections between information technology, healthcare, biomarkers, and genetics may help us to predict who will develop Parkinson’s. Meanwhile, advances in technology are portending a day when we can accurately measure the progression of Parkinson’s. Most importantly, we may be on the cusp of testing new hypotheses that will allow us to reach our ultimate end goal of stopping Parkinson’s.
This is exciting. However, if we want these advances to come to fruition, we must heed the lessons learned from Cotzias’s story — the need for human capital.
Many people may be surprised to learn that Cotzias’ key discovery of levodopa and Dr. Yahr’s follow-up study were milestones that were nearly missed. In the 1960s, funding was plentiful, and many researchers were testing levodopa. Where so many failed, only Cotzias succeeded, and he did so by taking a unique approach that no one could have predicted would work.
His story illustrates what many scientists know: that we cannot predict where answers will come from, and that we need a diverse cadre of people looking at diseases from different angles to solve them. Thus, he tells us what we need to create a world without Parkinson’s – people.
We need people who dedicate their careers to Parkinson’s research. Yet, over the past 20 years, human capital in the research community has been in jeopardy. The average age at which a scientist receives his or her first R01 (the original and historically oldest grant mechanism used by the NIH) has crept up from their 30s to their early 40s, leading droves of talented researchers to leave the lab for more stable careers.
If we don’t change our way of thinking about the next generation of scientists, we could easily lose a cadre of researchers who are at the prime of their careers.  At the Parkinson’s Foundation, we are doing our part by dedicating millions of dollars to support early-career scientists and clinicians.
But this isn’t enough. As a society, we need to value the up-and-coming generation for their creativity and support their ingenuity. A few weeks from now, on June 1st, we’re bringing together some of the best and brightest of the next generation for a scientific event entitled, “World Without Parkinson’s.” We’re asking one question of each these up-and-coming leaders, “How do you predict your area of expertise will help to end Parkinson’s?”










Will any of them have the right answer? Is the next George Cotzias among our speakers?
We don’t know. But we know that we have to continue ask the question and make opportunities available for researchers to thrive until we find him or her.
In fact, it’s the only way we can find the world we envision — the one in which Parkinson’s no longer exists.
The Parkinson’s Foundation is working toward a world without Parkinson’s disease. Formed by the merger of National Parkinson Foundation and the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation in August 2016, the mission of the Parkinson’s Foundation is to invest in promising scientific research that will end Parkinson’s disease and improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s, and their families, through improved treatments, support and the best care. For more information, visit www.parkinsonsfoundation.org or call (800) 4PD-INFO (473-4636) or (800) 457-6676.
http://blogs.nature.com/ofschemesandmemes/2017/04/13/creating-a-world-without-parkinsons-200-years-after-an-essay-on-a-shaking-palsy