City of Chicago, Northwestern Medicine Declare April Parkinson's Disease Awareness Month

Northwestern Medicine
Neurosciences April 14, 2014
Dr. Tanya SimuniIn recognition of its commitment to treatment and cutting-edge research, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has joined Northwestern Medicine and the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in proclaiming April Parkinson’s disease awareness month in Chicago. 

“Parkinson’s is a disease that impacts not just the person diagnosed with the disease, but also their family and loved ones,” said Tanya Simuni, MD, director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center. “The Northwestern Parkinson ’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center bring together the most advanced resources of Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the top research of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine to offer patients and their families the best possible treatment of today while working to uncover the Parkinson’s treatment of the future.”

Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease. Prominent traits include tremor, stiffness of the limbs and trunk, slowness of movement and impaired balance and coordination. While there are pharmaceutical and alternative therapies available to manage the disease, there are currently no cures or treatments that definitively slow its progression. Researchers are looking for treatments to delay disease progression. Northwestern’s Parkinson ’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center is the only National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence in Illinois. The center provides innovative, multidisciplinary care, while also conducting research to extend knowledge and treatment of movement disorders.

There is an emphasis on education and support for patients, families, caregivers, healthcare providers and the community. The Center hosts a free support group at 11 a.m. the first Tuesday of every month at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. These meetings include presentations, open-ended discussions and sharing. Visitors and guests are always welcome. For more information about the support group, call Pamela Palmentera at 312.503.4397.

Dr. Simuni was recently awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct a $16 million phase III study of the safety and efficacy of the drug isradipine as a potential neuroprotective agent in Parkinson’s disease. This is the only phase III Parkinson’s neuroprotective study currently funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at NIH. The research is being conducted by Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in partnership with the University of Rochester Medical Center. The study will be carried out at 56 Parkinson Study Group centers in North America over five years.
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