Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dystonia Medical Research Foundation Announces 2011 Stanley Fahn Awards

Dystonia Medical Research Foundation  
Last modified: 2011-12-05T22:17:14Z
Published: Monday, Dec. 5, 2011 - 2:16 pm
CHICAGO, Dec. 5, 2011 -- /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) has announced the recipients of its most prestigious research award, the Stanley Fahn Award. The 2011 awards were given to Pedro Gonzalez-Alegre, M.D. at University of Iowa and Antonio Pisani, M.D. at University of Rome.

Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder that causes muscles to contract and spasm involuntarily. The involuntary muscle contractions force the body into repetitive and often twisting movements as well as awkward, irregular postures. Dystonia affects men, women, and children of all ages and backgrounds, causing varying degrees of disability and pain from mild to severe.

At present, there is no cure for dystonia and scientists around the world are working to better understand this disease. The Stanley Fahn Award is given to young investigators who conduct groundbreaking dystonia research with the hope of finding better treatments. The DMRF established this award in honor of Stanley Fahn, M.D. of Columbia University in New York who has made visionary and lasting contributions to the field of dystonia.

Dr. Gonzalez-Alegre is a pioneer in applying RNA interference techniques to genetic forms of dystonia, which typically affect children and are profoundly disabling. Dr. Gonzalez-Alegre's latest investigations use molecular methods to advance our understanding of the pathogenic process underlying dystonia. The goal of his current research is to determine how dystonia-causing genes and proteins alter neuronal coding and noncoding RNA networks, aiming to gain a better understanding of the pathogenic process that causes inherited dystonia.