Feinstein Institute for Medical Research Professor Dr. David Eidelberg won the fourth annual Bachmann-Strauss Prize for Excellence in Dystonia Research.
Eidelberg received an unrestricted $100,000 grant for his use of innovative brain imaging techniques and computational algorithms to better understand the pathophysiology of this disorder and its treatment.
Michael J. Fox and Todd Sherer, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, presented the prize at an event in New York City on Nov. 10.
“I am honored to join the esteemed roster of Bachmann-Strauss Prize winners who are leading researchers in dystonia,” said Eidelberg. “With the financial support from MJFF, I can continue to better understand the cause and identify treatments for dystonia.”
Dystonia is a movement disorder and a common symptom of Parkinson’s disease. Patients with dystonia experience involuntary muscle movements on a particular side of the body or all over. The condition can be genetic or caused by damage to the nervous system.
Those with the gene for dystonia do not always contract the condition, further adding to the mystery of this condition. Currently there is no cure for dystonia; the medical community can only treat the symptoms.
Eidelberg was recognized for his pioneering work in using brain imaging and network modeling to identify abnormal brain circuits in people with dystonia. Using these novel techniques, he showed how genetic mutations influence the development of dysfunctional brain circuits, and why some people with the mutation have symptoms of the disorder while others do not.
Eidelberg’s studies also provided insights as to the location and severity of symptoms in individual patients. This led to new image-based methods to evaluate individuals with different forms of dystonia and help objectively assess their response to treatment.
Presented as part of the partnership between the Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia and Parkinson Foundation and The Michael J. Fox Foundation, the Bachmann-Strauss Prize broadens public awareness and recognizes key scientific discoveries in dystonia. The prize honors dystonia researchers for key scientific discoveries and provides incentive for the next generation of investigators to continue forging paths toward cures.
“Dr. Eidelberg’s contributions to understanding Parkinson’s disease cannot be overstated,” said Dr. Kevin Tracey, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute. “His research has opened important new avenues for mapping brain networks that are fundamental to understanding debilitating movement disorders.”