Parkinson's in the Media

Can Free Video Consults Make Parkinson's Care Better?
National Public Radio [Note: Dr. Dorsey presented at the 2013 PAN Forum in February]
Why, you might ask, would a hoity-toity medical institution like Johns Hopkins be offering up free Web-based consults for people with Parkinson's disease?  To prove that it works.  Ray Dorsey, director for the Johns Hopkins Movement Disorders Center, is on a mission to convince America that videochats with doctors are as good or better than the traditional office visit.  It's a tough sell, since out-of-state doctors are barred from treating patients remotely in most states, and Medicare doesn't pay for telemedicine delivered to a patient's home.  "Right now, Medicare pays more when care is provided in a high-cost environment like a hospital," Dorsey says. "We should stop subsidizing high-cost centers of care, and start subsidizing care in low-cost, convenient, patient-centered locations."  So Dorsey has been hacking away at those barriers, data bit by data bit.  More…

Parkinson’s Patients May Be Harmed by Novel Treatment
Bloomberg
One of the most promising new approaches to treating Parkinson’s disease hit a snag after researchers found early evidence it may make people worse.  The experimental technique involves reducing levels of alpha-synuclein, a protein found in clumps in the brains of people with Parkinson’s that increases the risk of the disease. Research presented at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in San Diego shows the condition progresses more rapidly in patients with naturally low levels of the protein.  More…

Seeking Profit for Taxpayers in Potential of New Drug
The New York Times
With automatic spending cuts cascading through the government, lawmakers are calling for a review of federal policies they say have allowed businesses to profit on government research with limited return for taxpayers or consumers.  That re-examination could be particularly intense in federal science, once a corner of the government with bipartisan protection that has become something of an orphan caught between Republican efforts to protect the military and Democrats’ defense of Social Security and Medicare. Now, advocates for creative new funding policies might have an example for their cause, a new arthritis drug called Xeljanz that got its start in a taxpayer-financed laboratory at the National Institutes of Health.  “Just from the standpoint of sequestration, this is going to make the need for effective use of research dollars more important than ever,” said Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon. “I can tell you people are talking about it.”  More…

Teva Pharmaceutical Parkinson's Treatment Meets Study Goals
Fox Business News
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and H. Lundbeck A/S said their Azilect treatment for Parkinson's disease in combination with dopamine agonist therapy met its primary endpoint in an 18-week study.  The study data "continue to clarify the clinical profile of Azilect and the role it plays in helping to meet the needs of those living with [Parkinson's disease], at multiple points in the progression of their disease," said Dr. Michael Hayden, president of global research and development and chief scientific officer at Teva.  More…

NIH Gains New Insight Into Cause of Parkinson’s Disease
Government Executive (article authored by NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins)
While most forms of Parkinson’s are sporadic, there are rare familial types in which a misspelled gene raises the likelihood of developing the disease. Rare families have misspellings in alpha-synuclein itself, causing the protein to be stickier and more likely to form aggregates.  But the most common cause of the familial form of Parkinson’s disease can be traced to misspellings in the LRRK2 (pronounced “lark-2”) gene—which then produces an abnormal LRRK2 protein. The authors of this new study, led by a team at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, found that healthy versions of the LRRK2 protein are rapidly degraded in a disposal compartment in the cell called a lysosome—but the mutant forms are not. How might mutations in LRRK2 eventually cause the alpha-synuclein protein to accumulate?  More…

Study Results take Almost Two Years To Be Released
Reuters
Results from the average clinical trial take almost two years to be published, according to a new study, despite U.S. regulations calling for a 12-month maximum lag time on the release of most research findings.  More…