Feinstein Institute neuroscientist wins top honor in Parkinson's research

November 21, 2005

The American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) has awarded the 2005 Fred Springer Award -- the world's highest honor in Parkinson's disease research -- to David Eidelberg, MD, director of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research's Center for Neurosciences. The award was presented Sunday at the association's annual board meeting in Staten Island, NY. The association's executive committee unanimously voted him the 2005 recipient after his nomination earlier this year by the APDA Scientific Advisory Board.

"I am delighted to receive this award, which has been previously given to the very greatest contributors to the field of Parkinson's disease research," said Dr. Eidelberg upon acceptance yesterday of the plaque and Springer award's $10,000 prize.

Established in memory of Fred Springer, APDA treasurer and past president for more than 20 years, the award goes to a physician or scientist who has made a major contribution toward easing the burden and finding the cure for Parkinson's disease. Dr. Eidelberg was recognized for his work at The Feinstein Institute on mapping out intricate nerve pathways in the brain involved in Parkinson's disease, including pioneering new methods for viewing the brain at work, early diagnosis of disease, and predicting and evaluating response to various treatments.

"When we began working on network analysis and brain imaging, we never thought that the results would have yielded so many interesting insights into how this disease alters brain function, and how treatment can successfully repair these abnormal brain pathways. We hope that this work will now continue to help us design newer and better therapies for Parkinson's disease patients," Dr. Eidelberg said.

Dr. Eidelberg specializes in utilizing positron emission tomography (PET) to look inside the brain. In a recent project, he and his team of researchers developed a diagnostic technique using PET imaging to differentiate between Parkinson's disease and related disorders very early on in the disease development process -- a discovery that allows doctors to initiate appropriate treatments sooner, optimizing the long-term outcome for patients.

Among the many previous recipients of the Springer Award are Nobel Prize winner Arvid Carlsson, Oleh Hornykiewicz, Stanley Fahn and C. David Marsden. Dr. Carlsson first discovered that dopamine is a key chemical messenger in the brain that controls movement, which led to the discovery by Dr. Hornykiewicz that insufficient dopamine is what causes symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Dr. Hornykiewicz then went on to develop L-dopa as a treatment for Parkinson's, which remains the cornerstone of therapy today. Drs. Fahn and Marsden together founded the field of movement disorders.

Northwell Health

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