The department of neurology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) is now part of the CurePSP Center of Care network, which works to enhance public awareness and advance research to better understand atypical parkinsonism.
The network focuses on three neurodegenerative diseases: progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), corticobasal degeneration (CBD), and multiple system atrophy (MSA).
These neurological conditions share motor symptoms with Parkinson’s but have additional symptoms and biological differences. While multiple system atrophy is normally marked by toxic clumps of the protein alpha-synuclein in the brain, like Parkinson’s, PSP and corticobasal degeneration are characterized by clumps of a protein called tau.
“CurePSP is an exemplary patient advocacy organization with a sweeping vision of improving diagnosis, care and support for patients and ridding the world of PSP, CBD, and MSA,” Amy Brown, MD, assistant professor of neurology in the Movement Disorders division at VUMC, based in Nashville, Tennessee, said in a press release.
CurePSP includes 33 sites in US, Canada
Launched in 2018, CurePSP is a nonprofit organization based in New York City that includes 33 sites in the U.S. and Canada. The centers offer comprehensive care for all three disorders, at a significantly higher level than most neurology centers. Additional educational and outreach tools are available to the community, along with professional education and research support. Patients are also supported by tailored programs of the CurePSP network. All of these criteria must be fulfilled by a center to become part of the network.
“Their Centers of Care network is stellar, and we are excited to officially join its ranks. Besides boosting national recognition for our program, I foresee this new connection aiding local support for our patients,” Brown said.
VUMC includes the Vanderbilt Parkinson’s Disease Center, which treats all three forms of atypical parkinsonism, and the Vanderbilt Autonomic Dysfunction Center, dedicated to treating MSA patients. Their staff includes neurologists, neurosurgeons, cardiologists, and other specialists, with access to speech therapists and social workers.
Brown is currently leading two clinical trials testing novel treatments for MSA. A prospective observational study involving PSP and CBD patients is also underway under the leadership of Ryan Darby, MD, assistant professor of neurology.
VUMC is also a Center of Excellence in the Parkinson’s Foundation Global Care Network. Recently, the two nonprofits teamed up to develop an educational program for healthcare professionals to help them better understand atypical parkinsonism.
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