Results tagged “The Line Up”
Although Friedreich's ataxia is the most common type of ataxia, an effective treatment remains elusive. But thanks to the efforts of Michael Koob, Ph.D., and his laboratory team, the path to a cure could be getting shorter.
Aided by a one-year, $75,000 seed grant from the Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center (BAARC) in 2008, Koob and his colleague Young Yoon, Ph.D., are working to develop a novel gene therapy for Friedreich's ataxia.
Five years ago, ataxia was an unfamiliar disease to Patrick Bradley and Patty Carney- Bradley. They knew little about it, but they had heard that Minnesota Twins legend Bob Allison had it and eventually died from its complications.
"If you grew up in Minnesota, you knew Bob Allison because he was one of the great baseball heroes," says Bradley, who grew up in Austin, Minnesota, as did Carney-Bradley. "I used to get my first sunburn of the year at a Twins game," he says.
Since it was identified through genetic testing in the early 2000s, ataxia with oculomotor apraxia type 2 (AOA2) has become the second most commonly diagnosed form of recessive ataxia. But while more individuals are being diagnosed with AOA2, research on the disease remains scant. That paucity in data shouldn't last long, however, thanks to a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota's world-renowned Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR).
For many people‚ October in Minnesota signals the arrival of costume parties and peak fall colors. But for Vern Prososki and employees at St. Cloud-based Collection Resources‚ it marks the opportunity to bowl a few games and raise money for the Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center (BAARC).
The company has held an annual bowl-a-thon to benefit BAARC since 2001. For Prososki‚ co-owner (with Phaen Waldron) of Collection Resources‚ the decision to support BAARC was both professional and personal.
Long before it leads to loss of function‚ ataxia causes changes in the brain that cannot be detected through physical symptoms.
At first‚ biochemical changes to brain nerve cells‚ or neurons‚ are small. Gradually‚ however‚ they alter the metabolism of neurons and then impair them. Left unchecked‚ these changes can lead to the death of neurons and signal the arrival of ataxia symptoms. And once neurons die‚ their function never returns.
Sometimes the beginning of a breakthrough happens on a short walk down the hall to a colleague's office. For ataxia researchers and other neuroscientists at the University of Minnesota‚ whose offices may be scattered in buildings across campus‚ bouncing ideas off of one another in person is not always so easy.
The 7th annual Karen's Hope Ataxia Benefit raised nearly $47‚000 for the Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center‚ which supports ataxia research and care efforts at the University of Minnesota. In its history‚ the event has raised about $315‚000 for this work.
This year longtime ataxia research supporter Connie Bakken matched the event's proceeds through the Whitney Arcee Foundation‚ making an even larger impact on the future of ataxia research.