Dr. Martina Bebin garners major Tuberous Sclerosis award

Martina Bebin, M.D. Associate Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has been named the Manuel R. Gomez, M.D., award winner by the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.  The award was established in 1995 to honor Gomez, who is often called the father of tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) in the United States.

The award is given annually to an individual who has made a significant breakthrough in tuberous sclerosis complex research, or for their body of research to advance understanding of TSC, and/or to provide clinical care for individuals with the disease.

Parkinson's Action Network interviews Dr. Ashley Harms

Parkinson's Action Network recently interviewed Dr. Ashley Harms, one of PAN's Alabama Assistant State Directors. Dr. Harms discusses her involvement with PAN, her Parkinson's research, and her views on the scientific community's role in advocacy.

Dr. Harms currently serves as a Post-Doctoral Trainee in the Department of Neurology, Center for Neurodegenerative and Experimental Therapeutics under the mentorship of Dr. David Standaert. To read the full interview click below:

Genetic Marker Enables Better Prediction of Warfarin Dose in Patients of African Ancestry

A new-found genetic marker promises to better predict warfarin dose in African Americans, according to a study published online in The Lancet. If confirmed in further studies, the finding may help to avert more of the bleeds and blood clots that come when a patients's starting dose misses the drug's narrow safety window. To read the full story click below:

Study Finds Proof that Immune Defenses Amplify Parkinson's Disease Damage

The same mechanism that lets the immune system mount a massive attack against invading bacteria contributes to the destruction of brain cells as part of Parkinson’s disease, according to a study published online today in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Harms-neurons_sBuild-up of a protein called alpha-synuclein (green)
triggers an immune reaction through MHCII (red)
that kills nerve cells (blue) in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) found that shutting down production of a key group of immune proteins, major histocompatibility complex II (MHCII), completely protected mice that displayed a “human version” of the disease from related nerve cell death.

The MHCII protein complex enables cells that first respond to infections to display pieces of bacteria or viruses on their surfaces for notice by a second part of the immune system. These displayed pieces of invaders trigger a massive, second wave of immune reactions led by T cells and B cells. While vital to body’s ability to combat infectious disease, full-scale immune responses cause disease-related inflammation and cell death when unleashed in the wrong place. To see the full story click below: