One in six people are affected by brain diseases and disorders: the first-grader fighting epilepsy, the neighbor fighting multiple sclerosis, the parent fighting ALS… they are not alone in this fight. Doctors. Caregivers. Friends. Family. When it comes to taking on brain disease, there are a lot of heroes out there. Who are your heroes in this fight?

Honor your heroes in the fight against brain disease with a tribute gift to the American Brain Foundation today. You can make a difference in the search for a cure.

A cure for one will be a cure for many. We’ll get there faster with your help.

Research led by Jerry Mendell, MD, FAAN has uncovered a one-time treatment for children with Spinal Muscular Atrophy–a cure for what is otherwise a fatal disease. And he is building on this treatment to develop similar therapies for patients with Duchenne and Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy.

Dr. Mendell’s work involves gene therapy, a relatively new treatment option; the world saw its first gene therapy patient in 1990. Gene therapy shows promise for treating diseases for which there is no other cure.

Gene therapy requires three parts: a transgene to compensate for a faulty gene, a vector to deliver the transgene to a cell, and a promoter to turn that gene on in the right ways. In Dr. Mendell’s treatments, the vector is a harmless virus that “infects” cells with its DNA–DNA that was modified to include the new, healthy gene. Beyond muscular dystrophies, this kind of revolutionary therapy is being studied for the treatment of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, as well as ALS and many other neurological diseases.

The American Brain Foundation honored Dr. Mendell at our 2019 Commitment to Cures benefit event with the Cure One, Cure Many Award for his breakthrough research and for devoting his career to curing neuromuscular disorders. Dr. Mendell’s patients are living proof that when we cure one disease, we will cure many.

Learn more about diseases like Spinal Muscular Atrophy

At 15, Zoe has been navigating her Tourette syndrome diagnosis for eight years. “I had to figure out at a young age how my emotions affect my tics, from good to awful ways. It has been frustrating to figure out on my own and learn to deal with. This was the first moment in my life where my parents couldn’t fix something for me.”

Chronic tic disorders (CTDs) such as Tourette syndrome are common, affecting approximately 1% of youth. Anxiety disorders are present in the majority of youth with tic disorders but the types of anxiety symptoms and the impact of these symptoms in youth with tic disorders are not well understood.

With your help, the American Brain Foundation supports innovative researchers across the spectrum of brain disease looking to create solutions and hope for patients and caregivers. Researchers like Jennifer Vermilion, MD, who aims to better understand anxiety symptoms in youth with tic disorders in order to improve diagnosis and treatments for young people like Zoe.

“I am excited to advance our understanding of anxiety symptoms in youth with tic disorders and to better understand how to approach treatment of these patients.” – Jennifer Vermilion, MD

Support Dr. Vermilion’s important research with a gift today. Every dollar makes a difference.

“When we all come together, we change the world for good with one cure at a time.” – Zoe

Philadelphia – The American Brain Foundation recognized 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 May 8, 2019. 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:

Public Leadership in Neurology Award
Ann Romney

We honor Ann Romney, former First Lady of Massachusetts, for her invaluable leadership in the fight to defeat multiple sclerosis and all neurologic diseases. Ms. Romney has generously shared her personal experience with MS with millions of people through her inspiring book In This Together and countless media appearances. She has spearheaded path-breaking MS research and helped establish the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, becoming an ambassador for the health of the whole brain.

Commitment to Cures Award
Jeffrey Lurie

Jeffrey Lurie, accomplished movie producer and owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, knows autism up-close, having grown up with side-by-side with an autistic brother.
Through his personal philanthropy, Lurie has directed millions of dollars toward autism research. In addition, he created the Eagles Autism Challenge that includes a one day bike ride and family-friendly 5K run/walk featuring Philadelphia Eagles players, alumni, coaches, executives, cheerleaders and SWOOP. We are honored to present this award to Jeffrey Lurie.

American Brain Foundation Board Chair Award (posthumous)
Edgar J. Kenton III, MD, FAAN, FAHA

Dr. Edgar Kenton was not only a distinguished neurologist, he was also a member of our Board and a champion of philanthropy and of diversity in the neurology profession. He was a longtime supporter the Foundation’s research mission and a leadership donor. Dr. Kenton understood that diversity in the neurology profession would lead to better treatment, prevention and cures for all. He therefore gave generously to our Calhoun Fund, a permanently endowed fund for diversity research.

Cure One, Cure Many Award
Jerry Mendell, MD, FAAN

Dr. Mendell’s research has uncovered a one-time treatment for children with spinal muscular atrophy–a cure for what is otherwise a fatal disease. And he is building on this treatment to develop similar therapies for patients with Duchenne and limb-girdle muscular dystrophy. The American Brain Foundation honored Dr. Mendell with the Cure One, Cure Many Award for his breakthrough research and for devoting his career to curing neuromuscular disorders. Dr. Mendell’s patients are living proof that when we cure one disease, we will cure many.

MINNEAPOLIS – The American Academy of Neurology, The ALS Association and the American Brain Foundation are awarding the 2019 Sheila Essey Award to Aaron Gitler, PhD, of the Stanford University School of Medicine. 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. The $50,000 prize is given to support continuing ALS research. Gitler will be honored at the American Academy of Neurology’s 71st Annual Meeting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, May 4-10, 2019.

Gitler will be recognized during the Essey Award Panel Presentation held on Tuesday, May 7, at 3:30 p.m. Past winners of the award will also be present and give updates on their 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.

Gitler is receiving the award for his research on a protein called TDP-43. Clumping of this protein is thought to play a major role in ALS. Gitler and his team investigated what happens to a cell when TDP-43 forms clumps in baker’s yeast cells. They found a gene in the yeast cells that could protect the cells from the clumping protein. The related gene in humans is called ataxin-2. They also found that people with ALS have a higher frequency of ataxin-2 mutations. The mutations appeared to make TDP-43 more prone to clumping.

“Because of these findings, we thought that reducing the levels of ataxin-2 might protect nerves from TDP-43 clumping in ALS,” said Gitler. “We tested this hypothesis in mice and found that reducing the levels of ataxin-2 markedly extended survival. These results suggest that medicines that reduce the amount of ataxin-2 or inhibit its function might be effective as therapies for ALS.”

Gitler hopes his research will eventually benefit people with ALS. He explained that a new class of gene therapy drugs called antisense oligonucleotides are helping people with other neurodegenerative diseases, including spinal muscular atrophy. His research on ataxin-2 suggests that a similar approach to target ataxin-2 could be effective in ALS.

“I am very grateful to receive this award,” said Gitler. “In looking at the list of previous Sheila Essey Award recipients, they are all my scientific heroes and role models. It is very humbling to have the opportunity to make a small contribution to ALS research.”

The Sheila Essey Award for ALS Research is given to acknowledge and honor individuals who are making significant contributions in the search for effective treatments and cures for ALS. Since 1996, the $50,000 award has been made possible through the generosity of the Essey Family Fund through The ALS Association Golden West Chapter, in memory of Sheila Essey, who battled ALS for 10 years and died from the disease in 2004.

Richard Essey, Sheila’s husband, served as a National Trustee of The ALS Association and is one of the founders of the Greater Bay Area Chapter, now the Golden West Chapter. Past recipients have used the funds to continue ALS research or to support promising young scientists on their research teams.

Learn more about ALS at BrainandLife.org, home of the American Academy of Neurology’s free patient and caregiver magazine focused on the intersection of neurologic disease and brain health. Follow Brain & Life® on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

The American Brain Foundation brings researchers and donors together to cure brain diseases and disorders. The Foundation invests in research of the whole brain and all nervous system disorders knowing they are interconnected. This holistic, innovative approach allows the Foundation to build bridges between diseases and break new ground in research and application. The Foundation understands that when we cure one brain disease, we will cure many.

For more information about the American Brain Foundation, visit AmericanBrainFoundation.org or find us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

The American Academy of Neurology is the world’s largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with over 36,000 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 AAN.com or find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and YouTube

MINNEAPOLIS – The American Academy of Neurology and the American Brain Foundation are awarding a Missouri researcher the 2019 Potamkin Prize for Research in Pick’s, Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases for his work in Alzheimer’s disease research. Randall J. Bateman, MD, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo., and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, will be presented the award at the American Academy of Neurology’s 71st Annual Meeting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, May 4-10, 2019.

Bateman will be recognized during the Potamkin Prize Panel Presentation held on Monday, May 6, at 3:30 p.m. Past winners of the Potamkin Prize will also be present and give updates on their research.

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.

Bateman, who was a 2004 recipient of the AAN Clinical Research Training Fellowship, is receiving the award for his research in Alzheimer’s disease. His contributions to understanding the disease include developing a new method to determine how effectively amyloid beta is cleared from the brain. Amyloid beta is a sticky protein that can accumulate and turn into amyloid plaques in the brain, leading to dementia. Bateman found the process of clearing it from the brain is impaired in people with Alzheimer’s disease. He is also leading studies of people with an inherited form of the disease and has shown a relationship between brain lesion development and symptom development 15 to 20 years later.

Bateman also created a blood test that can detect Alzheimer’s disease in its earliest stages by measuring levels of amyloid beta. Bateman says the blood test can detect amyloid up to 20 years before a person develops Alzheimer’s disease. While it is still being researched, a blood test for Alzheimer’s disease would be less expensive and easier to administer than the current methods of detecting amyloid beta, a PET scan of the brain or a spinal tap to detect amyloid in the spinal fluid.

“A simple blood test could someday enable testing for Alzheimer’s disease for the world’s population,” said Bateman. “When effective treatments and preventions are developed, it will have enormous impacts on the lives of families, medical systems and society as a whole.”

When asked about receiving the Potamkin Prize, Bateman said, “I am honored and humbled to join the elite group of Potamkin Prize winners and I hope our work inspires other researchers as they strive to make big impacts in dementia research.”

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 at BrainandLife.org, home of the American Academy of Neurology’s free patient and caregiver magazine focused on the intersection of neurologic disease and brain health. Follow Brain & Life® on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

The American Brain Foundation brings researchers and donors together to cure brain diseases and disorders. The Foundation invests in research of the whole brain and all nervous system disorders knowing they are interconnected. This holistic, innovative approach allows the Foundation to build bridges between diseases and break new ground in research and application. The Foundation understands that when we cure one brain disease, we will cure many. Since 1992, the American Brain Foundation has been investing

For more information about the American Brain Foundation, visit AmericanBrainFoundation.org or find us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

The American Academy of Neurology is the world’s largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with over 36,000 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 AAN.com or find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and YouTube

Minneapolis – Today the American Brain Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2019 grants to the best and brightest early-career researchers pursuing cures for diseases and disorders of the brain. The Foundation awards these grants in partnership with prominent national brain disease organizations. A total of $2,377,000 is being awarded to 15 next generation researchers investigating 11 different diseases.

1 in 6 people is affected by brain disease—nearly 80 million Americans. The annual economic burden to American society of the nine most common brain diseases and disorders is over $800 billion. This number will continue to grow until better treatments and cures for brain diseases and disorders are discovered. It is anticipated that the annual cost of Alzheimer’s disease alone will increase from $277 billion to over $1.1 trillion by 2050. That is why the American Brain Foundation invests in early-career investigators, funding their innovative clinical research to find cures for brain diseases and disorders, and helping them to build a track record of success to assure future funding from the NIH and others.

The 2019 award recipients are listed below, along with the funding partners who have made generous investments to build the next generation of brain disease researchers.

McKnight Clinical Translational Research Scholarship 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
Sanaz Sedaghat, PhD, Chicago, Ill.
Christian Camargo, MD, Miami, Fla.

Susan S. Spencer Clinical Research Training Scholarship in Epilepsy – $150,000 over 2 years
Funded by the American Epilepsy Society, Epilepsy Foundation, and American Brain Foundation
In collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology
Lisseth Burbano, MD, Parkville, Australia

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
Jennifer Marsella, MD, Monroe County, N.Y.

Clinical Research Training Scholarship in Headache – $130,000 over 2 years
Funded by the International Headache Society and American Brain Foundation
In collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology
Faisal Amin, MD, PhD, Copenhagen, Denmark

Clinician Scientist Development Award in Interventional Neurology – $240,000 over 3 years
Funded by the Society of Vascular and Interventional Neurology and American Brain Foundation
In collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology
Kevin Keenan, MD, San Francisco, Calif.

Clinical Research Training Scholarship in Tourette Syndrome – $150,000 over 2 years
Funded by the Tourette Association of America and American Brain Foundation
In collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology
Jennifer Vermilion, MD, Rochester, N.Y.

Clinical Research Training Scholarship in Multiple Sclerosis – $150,000 over 2 years
Funded by the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers, Biogen, and American Brain Foundation
In collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology
Ulrike Kaunzner, MD, New York, N.Y.

Clinician Scientist Development Award in Multiple Sclerosis – $240,000 over 3 years
Funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the American Brain Foundation
Omar Al-Louzi, MD, Boston, Mass.

Clinician Scientist Development Award in Myasthenia Gravis – $240,000 over 3 years
Funded by the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America and American Brain Foundation
In collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology
Shruti Raja, MD, Durham, N.C.

Clinical Research Training Scholarship in Neuromuscular Disease – $150,000 over 2 years
Funded by the Muscle Study Group and American Brain Foundation
In collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology
Reza Seyedsadjadi, MD, Boston, Mass.

Clinical Research Training Scholarship in Parkinson’s Disease – $150,000 over 2 years
Funded by the Parkinson’s Foundation and American Brain Foundation
In collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology
David Coughlin, MD, Philadelphia, Pa.

Clinical Research Training Scholarship in Parkinson’s Disease – $150,000 over 2 years
Funded by the Parkinson’s Foundation and American Brain Foundation
In collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology. Supported in part by a grant from AbbVie.
Anna Goodheart, MD, Boston, Mass.

Robert W. Katzman, MD, Clinical Research Training Scholarship in Alzheimer’s and Dementia Research – $150,000 over 2 years
Funded by the Alzheimer’s Association and American Brain Foundation
In collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology
William Mantyh, MD, San Francisco, Ca.

Richard Olney Clinician Scientist Development Award in ALS – $240,000 over 3 years
Funded by The ALS Association and American Brain Foundation
In collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology
Suma Babu, MBBS, MPH, Boston, Mass.

About the American Brain Foundation: The American Brain Foundation brings researchers and donors together to cure brain diseases and disorders. The Foundation invests in research of the whole brain and all nervous system disorders knowing they are interconnected. This holistic, innovative approach allows the Foundation to build bridges between diseases and break new ground in research and application. The Foundation understands that when we cure one brain disease, we will cure many. Since 1992, the American Brain Foundation has been investing

For more information about the American Brain Foundation, visit https://www.AmericanBrainFoundation.org or find us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.