Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Uab Parkinson’s Disease Center

Location: Birmingham Alunited States

What Constitutes Wellness in Parkinson’s Disease?

Harrison Walker, MD, received his BA from Birmingham-Southern College in 1997 and his MD from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2002. He completed residency and fellowship at the UAB in 2006 and 2008, respectively. As an associate professor of neurology and the medical director for surgical movement disorders at UAB, Dr. Walker supervises neurologists, residents, fellows, graduate students, medical students and nurse practitioners at one of the largest movement disorders centers in the world. Dr. Walker’s long-term goal is to better understand how deep brain stimulation changes the way the human brain works and to use this knowledge to improve clinical outcomes. He has developed extensive methods for acquiring and analyzing biomarkers collected from dozens of patients undergoing DBS for movement disorders using the stimulus-evoked electrocorticography technology. Using many sophisticated research methods, his laboratory studies how the human movement system functions in health and disease. Dr. Walker has authored 23 peer-reviewed publications in leading medical and scientific journals.

Center For Neurodegeneration And Experimental Therapeutics

The Center for Neurodegeneration and Experimental Therapeutics is the home for basic and translational research on neurodegenerative diseases at UAB. Our 11 labs have over $10M in annual research funding focused on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, Parkinsons disease, Huntingtons disease, and ALS. CNET is home to one of the nine Udall Centers for Excellence in Parkinsons Disease, and our Training Program in Neurodegeneration is supported by a T32 grant from NIH.

Uab One Of Eight National Udall Centers Of Excellence In Parkinsons Disease

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is one of eight Udall Centers of Excellence in Parkinsons Disease Research by the National Institutes of Health. The Udall Centers, begun in 1997, are funded by congressional legislation in honor of former U.S. Rep. Morris Udall of Arizona, who died in 1998 after a long battle with the disease.

The Alabama Udall Center is led by David Standaert, M.D., Ph.D., the chair of the Department of Neurology and an international leader in Parkinsons disease.

A major goal of the Alabama Udall Center since its inception in 2018 was the development of a clinical research core, directed by Talene Yacoubian, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of neurology, to aid in the recruitment of clinical research subjects, in collaboration with Columbia University. The clinical core has recruited a cadre of 40 research subjects during the past year.

UAB has a long history of important research in Parkinsons disease and the clinical research core is an important next step in efforts to develop therapies to treat or prevent Parkinsons, said Standaert, the John Whitaker Endowed Chair of Neurology at UAB.

The Alabama Udall Center was established by an NIH award of nearly $10 million over five years. Standaert says the center is focusing on the role of inflammation and immune response in the progression of Parkinsons, which is a new approach to the disease.

Parkinsons affects about 1 million people in the United States and 10 million worldwide.

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Movement Disorder Video Rounds

The Movement Disorder Video Rounds allows for UC San Diego faculty, invited specialists, and fellows to share their cases and enables neurologists, residents, and fellows to learn from them.

Until further notice, Movement Disorder Video Rounds will be presented virtually. Zoom meeting details will be posted prior to each event. Check the schedule below for more information.

Apda Parkinson’s Disease Information And Referral Center

UAB recognized nationally for Parkinson

The Parkinson’s Disease Information and Referral Center, located at University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Neurology, provides educational and emotional support to Parkinson disease patients and their families. Established in 1978, the Center serves as a resource for those with Parkinsons disease and their loved ones as well as healthcare providers.

Services provided by the APDA Information and Referral Center include:

  • A telephone helpline
  • Assistance locating or establishing support groups
  • Educational presentations for support groups
  • Counseling and guidance
  • Support and training for healthcare professionals
  • Collaboration with other community stakeholders to raise awareness for Parkinson disease

Parkinson’s disease affects more than 1 million people in the United States annually, with at least 65,000 new cases diagnosed each year. The chronic and progressive neurological condition is the second most common neurodegenerative aging disorder, after Alzheimer’s disease.

For more information contact:

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Uab Joins Ranks Of National Udall Centers Of Excellence In Parkinsons Disease

David Standaert, M.D., Ph.D.The University of Alabama at Birmingham has been invited to become one of nine Udall Centers of Excellence in Parkinsons Disease Research by the National Institutes of Health. The Udall centers, begun in 1997, are funded by congressional legislation in honor of former U.S. Rep. Morris Udall of Arizona, who died in 1998 after a long battle with the disease.

The Alabama Udall Center will be led by David Standaert, M.D., Ph.D., the chair of the Department of Neurology and an international leader in Parkinsons disease.

UAB has a long history of important research in Parkinsons disease, said Standaert, the John Whitaker Endowed Chair of Neurology at UAB. UAB President Ray Watts, a renowned clinician and researcher in Parkinsons, was recruited to the Department of Neurology in 2003 to launch a world-class program. I joined UAB in 2006, and over the years we have worked together to develop a robust research enterprise in both clinical and basic science, and to provide care to persons with Parkinsons from Alabama and across the country. Our Parkinsons disease clinic will see more than 7,000 patient visits this year.

The Alabama Udall Center will be established as the result of a new NIH award of nearly $10 million over five years. Standaert says the center will focus on the role of inflammation and immune response in the progression of Parkinsons, which is a new approach to the disease.

Uab Named Udall Centers For Excellence In Parkinsons Research

BIRMINGHAM, AL – UABs Department of Neurology has been named a Udall Centers for Excellence in Parkinsons disease, which means researchers in Birmingham will receive a five year renewable grant to try to find a cure for Parkinsons.

The grant is named after the late Arizona Senator, Morris Udall, who died of Parkinsons in 1998.

Following his death, the National Institutes of Health set up centers around the country to study various aspects of Parkinsons.

Dr. David Standaert , chair of UABs Department of Neurology, will be leading this new study in Birmingham.

What I wanted to do here at UAB was to build a center that could really push the envelope on Parkinsons research, said Dr. Standaert, Our center is really focused on the immune system and inflammation in Parkinsons disease. Thats unique. None of the other centers are pursuing that angle.

Dr. Standaert believes if scientists can find a way to interrupt the immune system, they will be able to slow down the progression of Parkinsons, which would be the first step towards finding a cure.

Many of them will tell me you know I have symptoms, I have tremors, I feel a bit slow, but thats not what bothers me. What bothers me is thinking about my future and if you could tell me that these symptoms that maybe they are permanent but at least they wont get any worse many of my patients would be very satisfied with that, said Dr. Standaert.

You can read more about the study here.

Copyright 2018 WBRC.

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Parkinson’s Disease Biomarker Found In Patient Urine Samples

The biomarker, the protein kinase LRRK2, is a promising candidate for future exploration

University of Alabama at Birmingham

image: Andrew West, University of Alabama at Birmingham, is pictured.view more

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – For more than five years, urine and cerebral-spinal fluid samples from patients with Parkinson’s disease have been locked in freezers in the NINDS National Repository, stored with the expectation they might someday help unravel the still-hidden course of this slow-acting neurodegenerative disease.

Now, research by Andrew West, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Alabama at Birmingham has revealed that the tubes hold a brand-new type of biomarker — a phosphorylated protein that correlates with the presence and severity of Parkinson’s disease. West and colleagues, with support from the National Institutes of Health, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease Research and the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, are digging deeper into these biobanked samples, to validate the biomarker as a possible guide for future clinical treatments and a monitor of the efficacy of potential new Parkinson’s drugs in real time during treatment.

The findings

Next steps

In May, West was awarded a new U01 collaborative grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to further explore urinary exosomes and extend the observations to cerebral-spinal fluid as a marker for disease prediction and prognosis.


Movement Disorders

Uab Researchers Seek Missing Link In Parkinsons Disease

Patient Outcome – An Overview of Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinsons Disease

There is a missing link between genetic and environmental causes of Parkinsons disease, scientists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham speculate, and armed with a four-year, $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, they intend to find it.

Parkinsons disease, which affects nearly 1 million Americans and 10 million people worldwide, occurs when dopamine-producing neurons in the brain are damaged or die. The loss of dopamine leads to tremors, stiffness and trouble walking and balancing. There is currently no preventive treatment, or a cure. In most cases, the damage has been accumulating for decades before symptoms appear. But what if it were possible to get an early warning about trouble in the brain based on turmoil in the gut? Or, better yet, what if some simple tweaks to intestinal bacteria the gut microbiome could interrupt Parkinsons progression in the first place?

The grant will allow UAB researchers to launch a major investigation into the role of the gut microbiome in Parkinsons disease. The gut microbiome refers to the 100 trillion or so bacteria and other microbes that live in the human intestines. Their combined DNA is 100 times larger than the human genome, says Haydeh Payami, Ph.D., professor in the UAB School of MedicineDepartment of Neurology and John T. and Juanelle D. Strain Endowed Chair, who is the principal investigator for the study.


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Who Is At Risk For Parkinson Disease

The biggest risk factor for Parkinson is advancing age. The average age for Parkinson symptoms to start is 70 years. Men are affected more than women. But the reason for this is unclear.

Family history is another key risk factor. A person with an affected parent or sibling has a higher chance of getting Parkinson. This higher risk is most likely because of a mix of environmental and genetic factors. Having one or more close relatives with Parkinson raises the risk of the disease, as does exposure to environmental toxins.

Continuing Medical Education Credit

The UC San Diego School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinson Disease

These are the most common symptoms of Parkinson:

  • Rigid muscles. Stiffness when the arm, leg, or neck is moved back and forth.

  • Resting tremor. Tremor that is most obvious at rest.

  • Bradykinesia. Slowness in starting movement.

  • Postural instability. Poor posture and balance that may cause falls or gait problems.

Symptoms of Parkinson vary from person to person. The symptoms may appear slowly and in no certain order. Early symptoms may be subtle. They may slowly get worse over many years before reaching a point where they disrupt normal daily activities.

Other symptoms are divided into motor and nonmotor symptoms.

Motor symptoms:

  • Urinary frequency or urgency

  • Male erectile dysfunction

As the disease gets worse, walking may become affected. It may cause the person to stop in mid-stride or “freeze” in place, and maybe even fall over. People also may start walking with a series of quick, small steps as if hurrying forward to keep balance. This is known as festination.

The symptoms of Parkinson may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

Living With Parkinson Disease

UAB student awarded Parkinsons Disease Foundation grant ...

Even though Parkinson disease is a chronic, incurable disease, treatment can help ease symptoms and enhance your quality of life. You can also do a lot to stay independent, such as:

  • Eating a healthy diet

  • Staying mobile with the use of assistive devices, if needed

  • Exercising regularly

  • Doing physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, if needed

Also talk with your healthcare provider about depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues that may come up.

Community agencies can help you and your family adjust to the diagnosis of Parkinson disease. The Parkinson’s Foundation provides a variety of educational resources for patients and family members. It also has a helpline staffed with Parkinson specialists who can offer support to people with PD, caregivers, and healthcare providers. The helpline provides information about emotional support, current PD-related medical information, and local resources. The helpline is available at 800-4PD-INFO or .

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Uab Study Identifies Promising Target For Parkinsons Disease

An international research team led by scientists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham has identified a potential target for therapeutics that might help slow the progression of Parkinsons disease.

In findings published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the researchers compare different forms of alpha-synuclein, and specifically point to beta-sheet fibrillar forms of the alpha-synuclein protein, as a promising target.

Alpha-synuclein is a protein found in the brain. While its role in a healthy brain is not completely understood, scientists know that, in conditions such as Parkinsons disease, Lewy body dementia and Alzheimers disease, alpha-synuclein clumps into aggregates that damage neurons. The UAB-led research team looked at several forms of alpha-synuclein to determine which is most responsible for brain damage and, thus, the most likely target for therapeutic intervention.

Weve long known that the aggregation or clumping of alpha-synuclein plays an important role in diseases such as Parkinsons, said Laura Volpicelli-Daley, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Neurology in the School of Medicine. Our funding agencies the Michael J. Fox Foundation and support from the UAB Udall Center for Excellence in Parkinsons Disease Research have made study of alpha-synuclein a priority. We think that, by preventing alpha-synuclein from forming aggregates, we can prevent progression of the disease.


Key Points About Parkinson Disease

  • Parkinson is a motor system disorder. It slowly gets worse over time, but treatment, a healthy lifestyle, and community support can enhance the person’s overall quality of life.

  • The most common symptoms are muscle rigidity, resting tremor, slowness in starting movement, and postural instability.

  • There is no known cure for Parkinson. But medicines and surgery can help control symptoms.

  • Healthy diet, regular exercise, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy can promote independence.

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Parkinsons Disease Research Centers Of Excellence

The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. As a part of this mission, the NINDS supports basic, translational and clinical research on Parkinson’s disease , a complex neurodegenerative disorder that progressively impairs the control of purposeful movement.

The NINDS Centers of Excellence program for PD research was developed in honor of former Congressman Morris K. Udall of Arizona, who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1961. Representative Udall was diagnosed with PD in 1979 and remained active in Congress until his retirement in 1991. On November 13, 1997, the President of the United States signed the Morris K. Udall Parkinson’s Disease Research Act of 1997 into law .

In 1997, the NINDS released a Request for Applications to establish the first Morris K. Udall Centers of Excellence in Parkinson’s Disease Research. Udall Centers utilize a team-based, interdisciplinary research approach to elucidate the fundamental causes of PD as well as to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients with Parkinson’s and related neurodegenerative disorders.

The NINDS is committed to continuing and enhancing the tradition of scientific excellence fostered by the Udall Centers. For further information, contact .

NINDS Udall Centers of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease Research

What Causes Parkinson Disease

Hype or Hope Exploring Research in Parkinson Disease

The cause of Parkinson is unknown. Experts believe the symptoms are linked to a chemical imbalance in the brain caused by brain cell death. Parkinson is chronic. Symptoms grow worse over time.

This disease may appear in younger people . But it often affects people in late middle age. It is not contagious.

Experts think that, in most people, the cause of Parkinson is a mix of genes and the environment. Studies have shown that rural living, exposure to well water, and exposure to agricultural pesticides and herbicides are linked to Parkinson. But these factors don’t guarantee you will get the disease. Nor does their absence prevent it.

In the other forms of Parkinsonism, either the cause is known or suspected. Or the disorder occurs as a secondary effect of some other neurological problem. These forms are sometimes called Parkinson syndrome, atypical Parkinson, or, simply, Parkinsonism. They may be caused by:

  • Tumors in the brain

  • Repeated head trauma, such as from boxing

  • Long-time use of certain medicines, such as phenothiazines, butyrophenones, or reserpine for mental health problems, and metoclopramide for stomach upset

  • Toxins, such as manganese and carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Postencephalitic Parkinsonism, a viral disease that causes “sleeping sickness”

  • Striatonigral degeneration, a disease that affects the part of the brain called the substantia nigra

Parkinsonism may also occur with other nervous system problems. These include:

  • Shy-Drager syndrome

  • Dementia with Lewy bodies

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