From James Beck, Ph.D., Director of Research Programs This blog is part two in a series of three about the BigBrain. Several weeks ago saw the announcement of a description of a new and highly detailed atlas of the brain, called BigBrain. PDF wrote about how one person, making the decision to donate their brain, has made a significant contribution to science. Indeed, that is true. But what does this really mean for the future of neuroscience … and Parkinson’s research?
When opening the Sunday Review section of the New York Times this past weekend, I did a double-take as a topic of much discussion here at PDF was featured front and center – trumping commentary on the state of the economy, international relations and the latest political debate. “Do Clinical Trials Work?,” by Clifton Leaf serves as a primer on some of the key issues that prevail within the clinical research enterprise – the tension between scientific inquiry and patient priorities; the odds that study sponsors take when betting on the success of a potential therapy; and the disconnect between those who… Read More
Just a few weeks ago, the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation’s grants review committee – comprising scientists and patient advocates – took on the task of deciding which of the 200 research grant applications we received would be approved for funding. PDF had the resources to fund only 10 worthy projects. Researchers working on innovative, viable projects continually face the challenge of limited available funding. And funders, such as government agencies and foundations like PDF, have to make difficult choices based on available resources. How can PDF meet the challenge to find sufficient funds to support the most promising research in tough economic… Read More
From James Beck, Ph.D., Director of Research Programs The genetic testing company 23andMe recently announced that it had reached its goal of enrolling 10,000 people with Parkinson’s into its genetic testing program. I personally think that is fabulous. While genetic abnormalities that lead to Parkinson’s disease are rare, finding these cases has been a boon to understanding PD for all. From the location and then discovery of the first PD gene by PDF’s first supported fellow, Roger Duvoisin, M.D., and his colleagues in 1996 to the more recent genetic discoveries of today, PDF steadfastly supports research into understanding how genetics and… Read More
This week, a report conducted by IHS-Global was published in the journal Movement Disorders, providing the most comprehensive, economic analysis to date of the direct and indirect costs of Parkinson’s disease to individuals and society in the United States. (In full disclosure, it was underwritten by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America). While certain premises within the report – most notably, the estimate of the overall prevalence of Parkinson’s in the United States, which is probably on the low side – may be uncertain, most of the numbers are well thought through and carefully applied to the known data…. Read More
We all appreciate the headlines that help us understand PD symptoms and side effects. But we also find it refreshing to see last week’s selection of stories covering ways to take charge of PD with creativity. Victoria Tane featured in the 2013 Creativity & Parkinson’s Calendar The Science Behind the Spin Last Thursday, we saw a review published on, “The Awakening of Artistic Creativity and Parkinson’s” by Rivka Inzelberg, M.D., in Behavior Neuroscience. Dr. Inzelberg looked at more than 10 studies investigating, “the ability to produce innovative aesthetic works” in people living with Parkinson’s. She found that: People with PD who… Read More