MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease (MIND)

Focusing the MIND on Ataxias… An Important Link to Finding Cures

“I am optimistic that with the support of philanthropic investment, Dr. Schmahmann’s research efforts and closer collaboration with MIND will lead to further important discoveries in human brain structure and function, new understanding of the causes and effects of neuropsychiartric and cerebellar disorders, and novel treatments strategies that will improve the lives of our patients.”
Anne B. Young, MD, PhD
Julieanne Dorn Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Chief, Neurology Service, Massachusetts General Hospital

The MIND Institute was founded and is directed by Dr. Anne Young, the chair of the department of neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital. MIND’s mission is to accelerate research discoveries that will lead to treatments for progressive and presently incurable devastating neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s), Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

At the MIND Institute, teams of world-renowned experts who are colleagues of Dr. Schmahmann’s at MassGeneral’s department of neurology work collaboratively with the Harvard Medical School and highly creative young investigators to understand these diseases and develop new strategies for treatment. The ability to collaborate is important because as promising leads are developed in one area, they can be tested in the other neurodegenerative disorders.

Significantly, the spinocerebellar and other neurodegenerative ataxias are not presently a focus of interest at the MIND Institute, even though clinical similarities between certain ataxias and these diseases have been discovered. For example, there are clinical similarities between SCA 17 and Hutington’s; SCA 2 shares similarities with Parkinson’s; one of the genes for Alzheimer’s can produce ataxia at its earliest manifestations; and the gene for SCA 1 also has been shown to involve Alzheimer’s.

We hope to change this and focus the MIND on Ataxias, a proven link to finding cures.

To learn more about the promise and potential of the MIND Institute, please visit their website.

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