The Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia and Parkinson Foundation has announced matching grants totaling $1.2 million to establish dystonia and Parkinson's Disease centers of excellence at three U.S. medical centers.
The new centers — at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Parkinson Disease and Movement Disorders Clinic, the University of Florida Health Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration, and the University of California, San Francisco Surgical Movement Disorders Center — will work to strengthen their respective university's clinical and research infrastructure while providing a mechanism through which they can share knowledge and collaborate on new initiatives. The centers, which join an existing Center of Excellence at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, also will provide dystonia and Parkinson's patients with access to proper diagnosis, treatment, and comprehensive care based on an integrated and coordinated approach that includes ease of access to movement disorder specialists as well as physical, occupational and speech therapy.
Dystonia, which affects as many as five hundred thousand people in North America, is a movement disorder that causes the muscles to contract and spasm involuntarily. Parkinson's disease is a chronic, progressive neurological disorder whose symptoms include tremor, stiffness, difficulty moving, and problems with walking and balance.
"Proper diagnosis, treatment, and comprehensive care have long been missing for people with dystonia and Parkinson's disease," said Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia and Parkinson Foundation president and founder Bonnie Strauss. "As someone who lives with dystonia and struggled for years to find the right diagnosis, the opening of our new Centers of Excellence is a dream come true."