Parkinson's in the Media

 

Obama Seeking to Boost Study of Human Brain
The New York Times
The Obama administration is planning a decade-long scientific effort to examine the workings of the human brain and build a comprehensive map of its activity, seeking to do for the brain what the Human Genome Project did for genetics.  The project, which the administration has been looking to unveil as early as March, will include federal agencies, private foundations and teams of neuroscientists and nanoscientists in a concerted effort to advance the knowledge of the brain’s billions of neurons and gain greater insights into perception, actions and, ultimately, consciousness.  Scientists with the highest hopes for the project also see it as a way to develop the technology essential to understanding diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as to find new therapies for a variety of mental illnesses.  More…

Broader Therapies Could Further Strain Medicare
Politico
Millions of Americans with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and a host of other chronic conditions could benefit from broader access to treatments that would help maximize their quality of life, even if they won’t regain any particular abilities that they have lost.  And that’s true whether they are getting the care at home, at outpatient centers or in nursing facilities.  How much will the settlement cost Medicare?  Nobody is quite sure whether it will lead to a slight boost in how many people get these services or whether it will lead to a raft of new services for the massive population of chronically ill seniors in the already strapped Medicare program.  More…

A Biotech Perspective On Why We Shouldn't Cut The NIH
Forbes
The United States’ $845 billion budget deficit (that’s a 2013 forecast) certainly poses real threats to business. But there are some cuts would be just unwise, and in his State of the Union speech last night Barack Obama argued that spending on scientific and technological research is one of them.  From his prepared remarks:  “If we want to make the best products, we also have to invest in the best ideas. Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy.  Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer’s; developing drugs to regenerate damaged organs; devising new material to make batteries ten times more powerful.  Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation.  Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race.”  Obama goes on to talk about research in renewable energy, but I want to take a moment to zag to another, less politically loved area: the drug business. Because without NIH dollars, a lot of new medicines wouldn’t be invented.  More…

Medtronic’s Brain Device Improves Early-Stage Parkinson’s
Bloomberg
Patients with early Parkinson’s disease who respond to drug therapy gain improvement in their symptoms and quality of life when they receive deep-brain stimulation from an implanted medical device, a study showed.  Brain stimulation is now reserved for advanced Parkinson’s patients with severe complications and inconsistent response to drug treatment.  The findings suggest patients at an earlier stage of the disease may do even better, reaping benefits before the progressive neurological illness has eroded their physical function, social activity and professional lives. The researchers tracked 251 patients with Parkinson’s for an average of 7.5 years after they were treated with drug therapy, or drugs plus deep-brain stimulation with Medtronic Inc.’s Kinetra or Soletra devices.  Quality of life improved significantly for those getting both treatments, while it worsened slightly for those given only drugs, according to the study published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine.  More…

Mayo Gets $7 million Grant for Parkinson's Study:  The NIH Grant Will Aid in the Study of the Disease for Five Years
Florida Times-Union
Mayo Clinic Jacksonville has received a five-year, $7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue its study of the genetic causes of Parkinson’s disease.  As the genetic keys are found, those with a greater likelihood of developing the disease can take steps to reduce the chances, said Dennis Dickson, a neuropathologist and the center’s director.  The clinic’s Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson’s Disease Research has received federal funding since 1999. But in recent years, that funding has dropped to about $500,000 a year, said Dennis Dickson, a neuropathologist and the center’s director.  Not only does this grant more than double the money the clinic has been receiving, it guarantees it for five years.  More…

Leaving Work After a Parkinson's Diagnosis
American Public Media: Marketplace (Audio)
For many years, Bart Narter has been a good friend of Marketplace.  As a banking analyst with a company called Celent, he's helped us explain what's going on with the financial industry.  But at the age of 51, he just left his job only two years after being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.  More…