The Friedman Brain Institute

Movement Disorders

Movement disorders are a heterogeneous collection of neurologic syndromes that have in common abnormalities in an individual's control over motor functions.

Prominent examples of movement disorders are: Parkinson's diseaseatypical parkinsonism (including multiple systems atrophy, corticobasal ganglionic degeneration, and progressive supranuclear palsy), dystoniaessential tremor, Huntington's disease, and tic disorders. Beyond offering world-class diagnosis and treatment for these illnesses, our scientists and physicians are conducting groundbreaking research into the causes of these illnesses aimed at developing more effective treatments.

Genetics

Our faculty members are recognized leaders in research into the genetic basis of dystonia and Parkinson's disease. A major focus of their research is mutations in the LRRK2 and GBA genes, as well as identifying novel genes that confer disease risk. 

Scientists involved: Rachel Saunders-PullmanCoro Paisan-Ruiz

Disease Pathophysiology

Our scientists are investigating the molecular and cellular basis of Parkinson's disease in animal models and human induced pluripotent stem cellswith a focus on the role of autophagy in disease pathogenesis and early changes in synaptic neurophysiology and plasticity as a basis for cognitive, psychiatric and motor symptoms of the disease. Coordinated research with teams in Genetics and Neurology is helping to understand how LRRK2, GBA, VPS35 and other mutations lead to disease onset, progression and severity.

Scientists involved: Zhenyu YueMichelle Ehrlich, Tim Ahfeldt, George W. Huntley, Deanna L. Benson

Closely related research is investigating the relationship between brain changes and genetic factors in humans with spasmodic dysphonia, a form of focal dystonia.

Clinical Trials

We have an extensive clinical trials program for movement disorders where we evaluate and recruit patients for novel clinical research protocols that have been developed to study the effectiveness of new treatments. Patients who participate in our clinical trials have access to the latest experimental evaluations and therapies, as well as ongoing clinical care.

Numerous clinical trials are underway within the Mount Sinai Health System on more effective treatments for a range of movement disorders, in particular, Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, and essential tremor.

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