Thomas Wichmann, M.D., professor of neurology at Emory University, will direct the new Udall Center. One of its objectives is to enhance collaboration between basic scientists with the university's clinical movement disorders group, which works with Parkinson's disease patients in the Atlanta region. The program will bring together experts in electrophysiology, pharmacology and related disciplines investigating brain circuits disrupted by Parkinson's disease and the effects of treating them with pharmacological and surgical therapy. The center also will include a research component at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. "Our goal is to increase understanding of how existing therapies work, and develop and explore the mechanisms of action of new antiparkinsonian treatments," said Dr. Wichmann.
The director of the new Udall Center at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is David Eidelberg, M.D., a pioneer in the use of functional brain imaging and network analysis for the study of neurodegenerative diseases and Parkinson's disease. The new center will focus on working with patients who suffer serious clinical side effects from levodopa and examining individual differences in the cognitive response to treatment.
"Understanding these phenomena should not only help improve the lives of patients, but also provide unique insight into the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease and its treatment," said Dr. Eidelberg. He added that the center will work toward validating a novel method for imaging brain circuits to aid early diagnosis, which could help streamline trials of new therapies for Parkinson's disease as well as for atypical parkinsonian syndromes.
NINDS program director Beth-Anne Sieber, Ph.D., said, "By virtue
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NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke