Media Contact:

Jane Ransom, American Brain Foundation
jransom@americanbrainfoundation.org,
(612) 928-6317

Los Angeles – The American Brain Foundation will recognize three people for their leadership of movements to defeat brain diseases afflicting 50 million Americans at an event held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology on April 25, 2018. Each award recipient has raised awareness, led an organization, and advocated successfully for better treatments, prevention, and cures for a brain disease. The awardees are:

Temple Grandin, PhD, Public Leadership in Neurology Award

Temple Grandin, PhD, is a professor, author, and lecturer who is internationally recognized for sharing her insights on the experience of having autism with the general public. Her books include Emergence: Labeled Autistic, The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum and Thinking in Pictures. The neurologist Oliver Sacks called the latter book “a bridge between our world and hers and allows us to glimpse into a quite other sort of mind.” Grandin links her highly-successful academic and consulting career in animal science—with specialty in the humane slaughter of animals—to her personal experience with autism and what it is like to feel threatened by distracting visual and auditory cues.

Grandin is the subject of the award-winning Horizon documentary, The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow. The feature length HBO movie Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes, is based upon her life.

DeMaurice Smith, Commitment to Cures Award

DeMaurice Smith is executive director of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), which, under his leadership, has made groundbreaking contributions to building public awareness about the impact of concussion in football and other sports. He has brought the scientific community’s findings on the risk of playing football into the mainstream, while tenaciously pursuing better treatments, prevention and cures for NFL players. Smith and the NFLPA have set an example for other sports leagues, including youth leagues, for how to care for athletes who are at risk of serious head injuries.

Through the collective bargaining process, the NFL Players Association established a $100 million medical research fund to study NFL players with an eye towards breakthroughs in injury prevention, treatment and overall health of NFL players, especially in the area of traumatic brain injury. The result, the ongoing Harvard Players Health Study, is now the largest cohort study of its kind.

Richard P. Essey, American Brain Foundation Board Chair Award

Richard P. Essey, San Francisco businessman and philanthropist, will be honored for changing the landscape of research in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and for his leadership of the American Brain Foundation as a member of its board of directors. In 1996 Essey established the Sheila Essey Award in ALS research in honor of his wife, who died of ALS, and has provided more than $1 million of funding for the award through the American Brain Foundation. The award, given jointly by the American Academy of Neurology and the ALS Association, has provided $50,000 to each of 21 researchers. The award has provided support and inspiration for ALS researchers and given hope to patients and caregivers.

Essey served on the American Brain Foundation’s board of directors from 2005 to 2010 and has served since then as an honorary member of the board. During Essey’s tenure on the board, the Foundation awarded more than $19 million for Clinical Research Training Fellowships to support early career neurologists investigating a whole span of brain and nervous system diseases. Essey was the first non-neurologist on the board, bringing the perspective of patients, caregivers and families, and infusing the Foundation with activism. He paved the way for other influential members of the public, such as Susan Schneider Williams, Dan Gasby and David Eagleman to become members of the American Brain Foundation’s leadership.

About the American Brain Foundation:

The American Brain Foundation brings researchers and donors together to defeat brain disease. The Foundation funds the vital research needed to cure the brain diseases that affect one in six Americans. The Foundation believes that funding research across the broad spectrum of brain diseases is the best hope for finding better treatments, prevention, and cures for the brain diseases affecting 1 in 6 people, because the major diseases of the brain and nervous system are scientifically and mechanistically related. Founded by the American Academy of Neurology, the world’s largest association serving neurologists and the neuroscience community, the American Brain Foundation’s mission is to bring researchers and donors together to defeat brain disease. www.AmericanBrainFoundation.org

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Media Contact:
Jane Ransom, American Brain Foundation
jransom@americanbrainfoundation.org
(612) 928-6317

Los Angeles – A common denominator in the search for better treatments, prevention, and cures for migraine, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and more than 400 other diseases and disorders of the brain and nervous system is the shortage of physicians in research careers. The estimated annual cost to American society of nine most common neurological disorders is $800 billion, yet the number of physicians in research careers looking to unlock the secrets of brain disease has remained flat since 2004.

That is why funding the innovative research of early-career investigators is a cornerstone program of the American Brain Foundation which has supported almost 250 neurologists and neuroscientists in their early research, enabling 79 percent of them to request and receive federal or non-federal funding for long-term research.

Today the American Brain Foundation announced multi-year funding, totaling $1,580,000 for the projects of 10 rising brain disease researchers, provided in conjunction with its research partners, the American Academy of Neurology and 9 of the most prestigious national organizations working for better treatments, prevention and cures of a broad array of brain diseases. The researchers and the Foundation’s research partners include:

McKnight Clinical Translational Research Scholarships in Cognitive Aging and Age-Related Memory Loss – Two awarded at $150,000 over 2 years
Funded by the McKnight Brain Research Foundation through the American Brain Foundation, and the American Academy of Neurology Institute
Brice McConnell, PhD, MD, Denver, CO
Kimberly Albert, PhD, Nashville, TN

Susan S. Spencer Clinical Research Training Scholarship in Epilepsy – $130,000 over 2 years
Funded by the American Epilepsy Society, Epilepsy Foundation, and American Brain Foundation in collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology Institute
Hiroki Nariai, MD, Los Angeles, CA

Clinical Research Training Scholarship in Muscular Dystrophy – $130,000 over 2 years
Funded by the Muscular Dystrophy Association and American Brain Foundation in collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology Institute
Katharine Nicholson, MD, Boston, MS

Clinical Research Training Scholarship in ALS – $150,000 over 2 years
Funded by The ALS Association and American Brain Foundation in collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology Institute
Peter Creigh, MD, Rochester, NY

Clinician Scientist Development Award in Interventional Neurology – $240,000 over 3 years
Funded by the Society of Vascular & Interventional Neurology and American Brain Foundation in collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology Institute
Sunil A. Sheth, MD, Houston, Texas

Clinical Research Training Scholarship in Dementia with Lewy Bodies – $130,000 over 2 years
Funded by The Mary E. Groff Charitable Trust and American Brain Foundation in collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology Institute
Bhavana Patel, MD, Gainesville, FL

Clinical Research Training Scholarship in Tourette Syndrome – $130,000 over 2 years
Funded by the Tourette Association of America and American Brain Foundation in collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology Institute
Wissam Georges Deeb, MD, Gainesville, FL

Clinician Scientist Development Award in Multiple Sclerosis – $240,000 over 3 years
Funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and American Brain Foundation
Emily Harrington, MD, PhD, Baltimore, MD

Clinical Research Training Scholarship in Neuromuscular Disease – $130,000 over 2 years
Funded by the Muscle Study Group and American Brain Foundation in collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology Institute
Davut Pehlivan, MD, Houston, Texas

“Through our research partnerships, the American Brain Foundation is working to develop an army of researchers investigating across the whole spectrum of brain diseases,” said Dr. Robert Griggs, chair of the American Brain Foundation Research Advisory Committee. “Our unique research partnership with our founder, the American Academy of Neurology, gives our Foundation access to the best and brightest minds to source the most high-risk and high-reward research.”

About the American Brain Foundation: The American Brain Foundation brings researchers and donors together to defeat brain disease. The Foundation funds the vital research needed to cure the brain diseases that affect one in six Americans. The Foundation believes that funding research across the broad spectrum of brain diseases is the best hope for finding better treatments, prevention, and cures for the brain diseases affecting 1 in 6 people, because the major diseases of the brain and nervous system are scientifically and mechanistically related. Founded by the American Academy of Neurology, the world’s largest association serving neurologists and the neuroscience community, the American Brain Foundation’s mission is to bring researchers and donors together to defeat brain disease. www.AmericanBrainFoundation.org

Minneapolis –As Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month arrives in March 2018, the American Brain Foundation is kicking off a crowdfunding campaign to support research to help defeat the disease. The campaign will support the efforts of Prof. Steffen Jung, Principal Investigator and Head of the Immunology Department at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Prof. Jung’s aim is to better understand the changes that occur during inflammatory disease states, learn what causes them to occur, and try to stop debilitating or fatal diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, or inflammatory bowel disease.

Donations to the crowdfunding campaign, found at www.AmericanBrainFoundation.org/crowdfund-for-cures will help Prof. Jung and his team purchase lab technology called quantitative realtime PCR (QuantStudio 6 Flex) which is vital for their immunological research. With such enhanced flexibility and efficiency, Prof. Jung and his group members will be able to explore new frontiers in the field of immunology. Supporters of this campaign will become partners in groundbreaking research with the potential to benefit all humanity.

Every 60 seconds a person is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Experts estimate over 400,000 Americans are affected by MS, and 2.5 million people worldwide . More than a quarter of people with MS use some form of home care, but over 80% of this care is provided by unpaid caregivers, mainly family members Despite the suffering and financial burdens of MS, funding for research into prevention, treatments, and a cure for multiple sclerosis is grossly inadequate. The National Institutes of Health spends over $6 billion a year on cancer research, over $4 billion on heart disease research and over $3 billion on HIV/AIDs research but estimates spending only $77 million on multiple sclerosis research in 2018.

The American Brain Foundation collaborated with the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science to help broaden support for the project. Jane Ransom, executive director said, “Our foundation seeks out the best research with the highest potential to defeat diseases of the brain and nervous system. We are excited because Prof. Jung’s research has potential global impact. We want this crowdfunding campaign to enhance his work.”

The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, is one of the world’s top-ranking multidisciplinary research institutions. The Institute’s 3,800-strong scientific community engages in research addressing crucial problems in medicine and health, energy, technology, agriculture, and the environment. Outstanding young scientists from around the world pursue advanced degrees at the Weizmann Institute’s Feinberg Graduate School. The discoveries and theories of Weizmann Institute scientists have had a major impact on the wider scientific community, as well as on the quality of life of millions of people worldwide.

About the American Brain Foundation
The American Brain Foundation funds the vital research needed to cure brain disease that affects one in six Americans. Founded by the American Academy of Neurology, the world’s largest association serving neurologists and the neuroscience community, the American Brain Foundation’s mission is to bring researchers and donors together to defeat brain disease. www.AmericanBrainFoundation.org

1 http://www.ajmc.com/journals/supplement/2016/cost-effectiveness-multiple-sclerosis/cost-effectiveness-multiple-sclerosis-economic-burden AJMC

Media Contact:
Jane Ransom, American Brain Foundation, jransom@americanbrainfoundation.org, (612) 928-6317

LOS ANGELES – The American Academy of Neurology, The ALS Association and the American Brain Foundation are awarding the 2018 Sheila Essey Award to Timothy M. Miller, MD, PhD, from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo., and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. The award recognizes significant research contributions in the search for the causes, prevention and cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Miller will be honored at the American Academy of Neurology’s 70th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, April 21-27, 2018. The Annual Meeting is the world’s largest gathering of neurologists with more than 13,000 attendees and more than 2,700 scientific presentations on the latest research advances in brain disease. The $50,000 Essey Award prize is given to support continuing ALS research.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. People with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death. The average life span after diagnosis is two to five years.

Miller is receiving the award for his work to find effective therapies for ALS. Many neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS, involve a build-up of misfolded toxic proteins, so he and his team of researchers are developing a method to turn off the production of these toxic proteins in the brain and spinal fluid.

“Our team has led efforts to find ways to stop these proteins from causing damage to nerve cells that control movement,” said Miller. “We believe that our refined approach may become broadly applicable to clinical trials for all different types of ALS.”

Miller’s approach is currently being tested in human clinical trials for a genetic subset of ALS.

“I feel fortunate to work with a group of individuals who have a genuine commitment to finding treatments for ALS,” said Miller. “I am deeply honored to receive this award and am pleased to be able to share this recognition with them.”

The Sheila Essey Award for ALS Research is made possible through the generosity of the Essey Family Fund through The ALS Association Golden West Chapter. It is in memory of Sheila Essey, wife of National Trustee Richard Essey. Sheila Essey battled ALS for 10 years and died from the disease in 2004.

Learn more about ALS at www.aan.com/patients.

The American Brain Foundation brings researchers and donors together to defeat brain disease. Learn more at www.AmericanBrainFoundation.org.

The American Academy of Neurology is the world’s largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with over 34,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com or find us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedIn and YouTube.

LOS ANGELES – The American Academy of Neurology and the American Brain Foundation are awarding an Illinois researcher the 2018 Potamkin Prize for Research in Pick’s, Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases for his work in dementia research. David A. Bennett, MD, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, will be honored at the American Academy of Neurology’s 70th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, April 21-27, 2018.

Sometimes referred to as the Nobel Prize of Alzheimer’s research, the Potamkin Prize honors researchers for their work in helping to advance the understanding of Pick’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. The $100,000 prize is an internationally recognized tribute for advancing dementia research.

Bennett will be recognized for his research on memory loss. Over the past 25 years, Bennett and his team at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center have enrolled nearly 3,500 older people into the Religious Orders Study, a study on memory loss in nuns and priests from across the USA, or the Rush Memory and Aging Project, a similar study of lay persons in northeastern Illinois. Both studies are funded by the National Institutes of Health. Participants do not have dementia when enrolled but some have developed it over time. Every person in these studies is a brain donor and so far, the brains of over 1,500 participants have been donated for further research by Bennett and his team.

“We have measured many things in the brain that we can relate to memory loss over time prior to death and are now using this information to identify new approaches to the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and several other causes of dementia,” said Bennett. “We are very interested in finding potential therapeutic targets and are looking closely at resilience — brain characteristics that allow one person’s brain to be more resilient to developing dementia than another person’s brain.”

Bennett said the data and biospecimens from these studies are shared with researchers around the world to advance the development of therapy to treat and prevent memory loss and dementia.

“Identifying better therapies is among the most urgent public health priorities of this century,” he said. “I am very honored to be receiving this award and am indebted to the Potamkin family for their generous support for this award. I thank the Potamkin committee for this honor.”

The Potamkin Prize is made possible by the philanthropic contributions of the Potamkin family of New York, Philadelphia and Miami. The goal of the prize is to help attract the best medical minds and most dedicated scientists in the world to the field of dementia research. The Potamkin family has been the Academy’s single largest individual donor since 1988, providing more than $2 million to fund the Potamkin Prize.

Learn more about dementia and related diseases at www.aan.com/patients.

The American Brain Foundation brings researchers and donors together to defeat brain disease. Learn more at www.AmericanBrainFoundation.org.

The American Academy of Neurology is the world’s largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with over 34,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com or find us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedIn and YouTube.