Care Partners: Make Your Vote Count

Alan and Cherry ZimmermanBy Alan and Cherry Zimmerman

Recently, we were asked through the PDF Community Choice Research awards to choose our top priority for Parkinson’s research.

We chose caregiver needs. (See our photo at left, or a larger version here.)

As you may know, PDF spends $5 million a year on research to solve, treat and end Parkinson’s disease. Through the Community Choice Research Awards, PDF asks the community to help identify other unmet needs not being addressed by research.

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Honoring Veterans Helping to #EndParkinsons

dale_addington-addington_dale-balloon_festival2-resizedThis Veterans Day, the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) honors veterans who have served our country, including those touched by Parkinson’s disease.

In particular, we recognize the veterans on the PDF team who continue to serve the community by helping us to end Parkinson’s disease. Here are a few of their stories.


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

research_vernaleo_beth_100x1001.jpgOne 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 majority (81 percent) of those 35 million people were of European descent, and the proportion of those of Asian descent increased slightly since the 2009 analysis. Otherwise, most non-European groups are still underrepresented in research.

Why does this matter? Because genetic changes, even if they affect only a small group, help us understand disease overall. By limiting genetics to those of European descent, we could be holding back research and cures for everyone.

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The Nobel Prize and PD Research: What It Means

sulzer-research-1PDF is excited to tell you that this week’s announcement of the Nobel Prize in Medicine – awarded to Yoshinori Ohsumi, Ph.D., of the Tokyo Institute of Technology – has intriguing implications for Parkinson’s research. Dr. Ohsumi received the Nobel Prize for his work to understand autophagy – the way our body’s cells recycle and dispose of waste to stay healthy. About 15 years ago, a PDF-funded research team recognized the importance of Dr. Ohsumi’s groundbreaking discoveries and applied them to Parkinson’s.

Since then and continuing today, PDF scientists have been unraveling the role autophagy plays in Parkinson’s. Dr. Ohsumi’s work was pivotal to PDF advancements and because of your support, PDF-funded discoveries are helping us to understand autophagy and point us toward new therapies.

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