PDF Contributing Author:

Beth Vernaleo, Ph.D., Associate Director of Research Programs

Bio

Beth Vernaleo, Ph.D., is Associate Director of Research Programs at the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.

Articles by this Author:


The More Genes, the Better: How Diversity is Advancing Genetics Research

One day, we hope to offer treatments tailored to the individual needs of each person with Parkinson’s. But how can we do that if we don’t understand how genetics impact Parkinson’s? After all, our genes are part of what make us unique, including how they relate to our health. This issue came up last week in Nature, when a group of researchers released findings from research in which they analyzed 2,500 genetic studies conducted in 2016 that studied the genes of more than 35 million people. They compared this to a similar analysis from 2009. They found that in 2016, the… read more Read More

Back to Basics: New Drug for Dyskinesias in Clinical Trials

Do you or a loved one experience dyskinesias as part of Parkinson’s disease (PD)? The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) has exciting news that may affect those of you who experience levodopa-induced dyskinesias (LIDs), the twisting and writhing movements that occur when people take levodopa. A few months ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted orphan drug status to an experimental PD medication called eltoprazine, which is designed to ease LIDs. This status acknowledges that the drug fills an important unmet need (if approved, it would be the first drug available to treat LIDs) and may allow the drug to become available… read more Read More

Back to Basics: Why Basic Research (and the Fava Bean) are Key to the Cure

Do you hope for new treatments for PD? At the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, we do. In fact, it’s the reason we exist. But how do we find them? And would you believe me if I told you the fava bean played an important role in the current gold-standard treatment for PD? When we think of finding better PD treatments, we often think of clinical trials — the final stage of research before PD drugs come to market. But there’s a crucial step at the very beginning of the pipeline that makes new drugs possible — basic science. Basic science looks… read more Read More

History in the Making for Parkinson’s Disease

Why would a group of scientists return to college dorms for four days to talk about research? And why is it a big deal for Parkinson’s? I found out last month at the Gordon Research Conference on Parkinson’s Disease at Colby Sawyer College in New London, NH. Funded in part by PDF, the conference welcomed more than 180 scientists who spent four days sleeping, eating and breathing a topic of interest — which for us, is of course, Parkinson’s disease.

I’d Like to Thank the Academy … for an Inspiring 2015 AAN Meeting!

A few weeks ago, I attended my first American Academy of Neurology (AAN) meeting, which was held in Washington, DC. This was the 67th annual meeting of the AAN, which brings together 10,000 neurologists and neuroscientists working to bring the best patient care and innovative research to the field of neurology. What should the PD community know about this gathering of professionals fighting their disease? Among the many highlights, here are a few of the more notable ones:

Stepping Ahead with Student Scientists: Kristin Ford

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, and at PDF, we thought this would be a great time to catch up with Kristin Ford, a former PDF-funded Summer Fellow, to see how PDF funding helped to jumpstart her career in Parkinson’s research and care. You may remember that last month we caught up with another fellow, Will Johnson, who was also supported through PDF’s Summer Student Fellowship Program, which funds undergraduates and medical students to spend their summers working on PD-related research projects with mentors in the field. Typically, fellowships are offered for 10 weeks with an award of $4,000. Kristin spent her Fellowship… read more Read More