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PDF Congratulates Scientific Director and Scientific Editor, Named by New York Magazine as Top PD Specialists

The Parkinson's Disease Foundation congratulates Dr. Stanley Fahn, PDF Scientific Director, and Dr. Blair Ford, PDF Scientific Editor, for being named by New York Magazine as top Parkinson's specialists. New York Magazine included both doctors in a feature on New York's best hospitals, citing New York-Presbyterian as the best hospital for treating Parkinson's disease. An excerpt from the article appears below.


New York–Presbyterian Hospital

As Rush Limbaugh recently found out a few days too late, each case of Parkinson’s is highly idiosyncratic. There’s no cure, a still-limited body of knowledge about how the disease progresses, and an equally limited understanding of how to deal with the often-unpredictable effects—like the controversial movements in Michael J. Fox’s stem-cell ad—of the known therapies. The best approach, therefore, is to have access to the largest possible body of treatment options and, just as important, doctors familiar with the multitude of turns the disease can take. New York–Presbyterian’s Dr. Stanley Fahn, chairman of last year’s first-ever World Parkinson Congress, and the head of Fox’s foundation’s research council, oversees more Parkinson’s-specializing doctors (seven) and more patients (five to six new cases each day) than any other physician in the city. Robin Elliott, executive director of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, describes Dr. Fahn as “the leading Parkinson’s specialist in the country”; his program, based at New York–Presbyterian’s Columbia University Medical Center facility, also encompasses heavily funded research labs—among other projects, they link highly precise scanning equipment to motion-capturing devices to try and find patterns behind seemingly random tremors—and Fahn’s colleague, Dr. Blair Ford, is an authority on leading-edge non-pharmaceutical treatment, “deep brain stimulation.” The DBS surgeons at Columbia have performed hundreds of the procedures—a battery and two electrodes are implanted within the brain’s motor-control system—in the decade since the FDA approved its use. On average, patients see a 90 percent reduction in tremors, a 90 percent reduction in dyskinesias (the shaking movements triggered by Parkinson’s medication), and a 40 to 70 percent reduction in the time spent in motionless spells, “which means several more hours a day of functional mobility,” says Ford. New York–Presbyterian’s Weill Cornell facility conducts its own next-generation research. In one experimental trial program currently being coordinated by Dr. Michael Kaplitt, gene compounds are being injected into the same region as the DBS electrodes in the first-ever attempts to achieve brain-rejuvenating effects through genetic therapy.

RUNNER-UP: Beth Israel’s program, run by Dr. Susan Bressman (who was at Columbia for some twenty years), has been instrumental in researching family histories to establish the disease’s genetic origins.

Source Date: Nov 14 2006
Source Publication: New York Magazine
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