January 03, 2011

Largest US Parkinson Conference Comes to SRQ

A major coup for Sarasota: the nation's largest medical conference on Parkinson disease is coming to town January 22, 2011. Experts from across the country will share the latest, cutting-edge treatment for this degenerative brain condition that affects millions nationally and 15,000 in the Sarasota-Bradenton area.

Six hundred people are expected to attend the one-day symposium, which features leading physicians and researchers from Harvard, Cleveland Clinic, The Parkinson's Institute, The Neuroregeneration Institute and Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Experts will focus on the latest research in stem cells, exercise, medical and surgical treatments for Parkinson Disease and more.

It happens at Sarasota Memorial Hospital's Institute for Advanced Medicine on Rand Boulevard, and it's all thanks to the on-going important collaboration between Neuro Challenge Foundation and Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, as well as grants from Teva Neuroscience, Harry Sudakoff Foundation and Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Inc. The internationally-recognized researchers who'll be speaking include:

· J. William Langston, M.D., Founder, CEO and Scientific Director of The Parkinson's Institute in Sunnyvale, Cal. Dr. Langston gained international attention in 1982 for discovering a link between synthetic heroin and the sudden onset of Parkinson's disease in several local drug addicts. With over 250 publications, including "The Frozen Addicts," Dr. Langston continues to forge ahead as an advocate for discovering ways to slow or halt the progress of PD.

· Jay L. Alberts, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Cleveland Clinic in the Department of Biomedical Engineering & Center for Neurological Restoration in Cleveland, Ohio. Each year, Dr. Alberts leads the "Pedaling for Parkinson's" group on a 500-mile journey across Iowa to raise funds for PD research. Recently, he was nationally recognized for research on tandem bicycling and its effects on Parkinson patients.

· Ole Isacson, M.D., Professor of Neurology at Harvard University and Director of The Neuroregeneration Institute at McLean Hospital in Boston. With over 200 publications and three books, Dr. Isacson has pioneered several lines of research, including the implantation of stem cells to reverse the effects of PD.

SMH physicians, Dean P. Sutherland, M.D., Ph.D. and James Schumacher, M.D. will also present. In addition, a Q & A panel discussion will follow, moderated by TV journalist Heidi Godman.

What: 2011 Suncoast Parkinson Disease Symposium
When: 8:00 am to 12:30 pm on January 22, 2011
Where: SMH's Institute for Advanced Medicine, 5880 Rand Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34238
Registration: Log onto www.neurochallenge.org or call 941-917-7777
Cost:$25 per person, however scholarships are available upon request
CE Credits: 3.0 Free Contining Ed. Credits for physicians, nurses, PT, OT and Speech

The Neuro Challenge Foundation Mission is to enhance the quality of life for people living with Parkinson Disease through education, outreach and research. Their flagship program, Parkinson Partners, provides one on one advice for patients. Call 941-926-6413 to enroll, free of charge.

Parkinson Disease is a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that affects one in 100 people over the age of 60. While the average age of onset is 62, disease onset starts by age 40 in an estimated five to 10 percent of patients, and people as young as 30 can also be affected. There is no readily-available objective test, or biomarker, for Parkinson Disease, so the rate of misdiagnosis can be relatively high, especially when the diagnosis is made by a non-specialist. Estimates of the number of people living with the disease vary, but recent research indicates that at least one million people in the U.S., and six million world-wide, have Parkinson Disease.