Oct. 8-14, 1999
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NEWS COLUMN
Grant to support Parkinson's disease

Harrison grants to fund undergrad research
Workshop attendees look at potential growth avenues for science & technology
Music videos are not just for MTV

Equal opportunity in U.Va. admissions

Film Festival to immerse filmgoers in technology
From the desk of ... Robert D. Sweeney
Hot Links - Equal Opportunity Programs Office
Scholarship reminder, new phone number
Meridian presents art & literature series at the Bayly museum
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TOP NEWS

Grant to support Parkinson's research

Researchers at U.Va. who are looking for the origins of Parkinson's disease were awarded a $5.7 million grant last week from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The institute announced new support to eight "research centers of excellence" at top universities, totaling $49 million over the next five years.

A team of five scientists in the U.Va. Health System's Neurology Department, led by Dr. G. Frederick Wooten, is studying genetic mutations in mitochondria -- the cell's energy producers -- that cause some nerve cells to die prematurely, leading to Parkinson's.

Dr. James P. Bennett Jr., Dr. W. Davis Parker Jr., Patricia A. Trimmer and Dr. Jeremy Tuttle in the Center for the Study of Neurodegenerative Diseases look at different parts of the process, from the mutations in mitochondria to the eventual cell death. Dr. Wooten will head up the clinical core of the project, identifying patients with Parkinson's and their family members who don't have the disease to donate blood samples.

The study of mitochondrial genes, which are passed only from the mother to her offspring, is an active area of research, according to Bennett. Some types of genetic diseases appear to occur sporadically, he said, but are inherited only through the mother's side and thus can skip generations.

Parkinson's disease affects more than half a million Americans, mostly later in life, progressively impairing the control of physical movement. The standard drug treatment loses effectiveness as the disease progresses.


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