In this Neuroscientists' Corner, JPD tells the stories of leading PD researchers. These stories are written by Jon Palfreman, PhD. If you have suggestions for a Neuroscientists' Corner Profile, please tell us and write to: email@example.com.
Caroline (Carlie) Tanner had always planned to specialize in family medicine. But while a medical student in Chicago, she fell under the spell of neurologist Harold Klawans. Klawans – one of the first neurologist to use levodopa therapy with PD patients – convinced the young doctor that Parkinson’s was an exciting area of research and practice. Says Tanner, “The idea of being able to intervene with a transformative therapy like levodopa was very attractive, so after some soul-searching, I switched my concentration from family medicine to neurology.”
Roger Barker says that he was inspired to become a clinician researcher after meeting the great neuroscientist David Marsden. As Barker puts it, “the minute I met David Marsden I wanted to be David Marsden, a person equally at home in the clinic and the laboratory”. When I visited the 51-year-old Parkinson’s and Huntington’s researcher during a recent visit to the UK, he seemed to be well on his way to accomplishing that goal.
Meet Bill Langston, a giant of neuroscience. A major researcher who’s co-authored some 360 peer-reviewed articles. The winner of numerous awards, including the Sarah M. Poiley Award from the New York Academy of Sciences, the James Parkinson 30th Anniversary Award from the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, and the Movement Disorders Research Award from the American Academy of Neurology.
Swedish neuroscientist Patrik Brundin keeps a picture of his father on his office wall as a reminder of why he became a Parkinson’s disease researcher. In 1974, when the Brundin family lived in Darlington, in the north of England, a local neurologist Dr Saunders diagnosed Patrik’s father, Bertil, with Parkinson's disease. Bertil Brundin –-an executive for a Swedish lawnmower company called Flymo–- was put on the just released medication, L-dopa. Patrik remembers his mother asking the neurologist “would it arrest the disease”? To which Dr.
In the dramatic open to his 2011 TED talk, “From God to Guide,” neurologist Bastiaan “Bas” Bloem is lifted high above the stage by a crane to the sound of celestial music. Far below, a patient asks him for help. Bloem tersely tells the patient he has Parkinson’s disease and orders him to take carbidopa/levodopa three times a day. But the patient is not satisfied and complains in desperation, “Doctor you must take me seriously”.