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MJFF and Merck Serono (EMD Serono in North America) Join Forces on $2-Million Initiative to Drive Treatments for PD-Related Cognitive Dysfunction and Mood Disorders
Date:12/13/2007

NEW YORK, Dec. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --- The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research has committed up to $2 million for research toward therapies to alleviate Parkinson's-related cognitive dysfunction and mood disorders. The funding is to be awarded under a new initiative, Cognitive Deficits and Mood Disorders in Parkinson's Disease, made possible by generous leadership funding from Merck Serono (EMD Serono in North America), affiliates of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

"Most people think of Parkinson's disease as a motor disorder, but time and again, patients tell us that the cognitive and mood-related symptoms of PD -- including depression, anxiety and executive dysfunction -- are some of the most disabling aspects of the disease," said Katie Hood, the Foundation's interim CEO. "These symptoms frequently affect patients early in their disease and don't respond to dopamine replacement therapy. With the Cognitive Deficits and Mood Disorders in Parkinson's Disease initiative, we hope to invigorate research and therapeutic development in this very important area."

Elmar Schnee, President of Merck Serono, commented: "Merck Serono recognizes the urgent need for new therapies to alleviate PD-related mood disorders and cognitive dysfunction, and we look forward to supporting The Michael J. Fox Foundation in pursuit of effective treatments for these under-addressed aspects of Parkinson's disease. Our support of the Foundation is just one example of our commitment to driving the innovative science that will allow every individual to live a fuller and more satisfying life."

Cognitive dysfunction, which includes difficulty in planning, sequencing, initiating and sustaining behavior toward a given goal, and incorporating feedback to make adjustments along the way, is estimated to occur in up to 80 percent of people with PD. Depression is thought to affect up to 50 percent of Parkinson's patients. Anxiety and apathy also are of
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SOURCE Michael J. Fox Foundation
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