Honouring Dr. Tony Lang, Parkinson’s Pioneer

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A Tribute to Tony, taking place on May 14 at the Carlu, honours the career of one of the world’s foremost experts in movement disorders, and Parkinson’s disease in particular.

A Master of Movement Disorders

Dr. Lang is Director of the Edmond J. Safra Program in Parkinson’s Disease at the University Health Network and the University of Toronto and Director of the Movement Disorders Centre at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre. Lancet Neurology, the world’s leading medical journal, has referred to Dr. Lang as “a master of movement disorders.”

In addition to leading Canada’s busiest Parkinson’s clinic, Dr. Lang is dedicated to advancing research, including studies of poorly recognized neurological disorders; clinical trials of new therapies; and basic and clinical studies involving molecular biology, neurophysiology, neuropsychology and imaging.

In 2010, Dr. Lang was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada and in 2011 he was elected a Fellow of both the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and the Royal Society of Canada. Also in 2011, he was recognized as the most highly cited investigator in the field of Parkinson’s disease in the world for the decade, 2001-2009.

Benefiting Innovative Research

Proceeds from A Tribute to Tony Lang benefit the Toronto-Hebrew Universities collaboration on Levodopa-Induced dyskinesia in Parkinson’s disease (THULIP), a unique collaboration between Dr. Lang and his team at UHN and researchers at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, led by Dr. Hagai Bergman.

The motor symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease, such as shaking, rigidity or difficulty with walking, result from the death of dopamine-generating cells in the brain. The most common treatment of these symptoms is levodopa, which can be processed into dopamine by the brain. Unfortunately, as the disease progresses and dopamine-related neurons continue to be lost, drugs such as levodopa become much less effective in controlling the symptoms and at the same time produce a complication called dyskinesia, marked by involuntary writhing movements – thus the term, Levodopa-Induced dyskinesia or LID.

Hope for a Treatment

While scientists do not currently understand the basic brain mechanisms underlying LID, one effective method to control this is Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). DBS is a surgical treatment involving the implantation of a medical device called a brain pacemaker, which sends electrical impulses to specific parts of the brain. Stimulating a region of the brain called the subthalamic nucleus has been shown to be a very effective treatment to manage the motor complications in Parkinson’s disease, including LID.

In 1994, UHN became the first Centre in North America to use DBS to treat patients with advanced stage Parkinson’s, and since then, has pioneered operations that produce striking and sustained reduction in Parkinsonian symptoms. Currently, DBS is routinely performed clinically at UHN and The Hebrew University and both research partners in THULIP have expertise in conducting studies involving recordings from implanted brain electrodes and their impact on brain function.

If successful, the THULIP studies will pave the way for a better understanding of LID, as well as for further clarification of the effects of DBS on the subthalamic nucleus. They will also open the door to studies using similar methods to evaluate DBS of other important brain area, as well as evaluating other causes of dyskinesia.

How You Can Help

A Tribute to Tony is co-hosted by Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation and the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University, and supported by FACES (Friends Activate Collaborate Educate Support.)

To purchase tickets or donate, please contact:
Kirsten Liddell
Event Coordinator
Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation
[email protected]
416-340-4800 ext. 6323