w Sporadic Neurodegeneration


Sporadic Neurodegeneration Symposium

Genes, Environment and Therapeutic Strategies

July 31 - August 01, 2008
The Fairmont Copley Plaza, 138 St. James Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Much progress has been made in identifying genes involved in familial, or inherited, forms of different neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimerís disease, Parkinsonís disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Although the majority of these disease cases are sporadic (not inherited), the origin(s) of sporadic neurodegeneration remain undetermined. We have designed this course to recognize and evaluate the current hypotheses surrounding sporadic pathogenesis. Gene candidates, including several recently revealed through Whole Genome Analyses (WGA), that are common and distinct between sporadic and familial diseases will be presented. Putative susceptibility factors for sporadic diseases, such as environmental insults and epigenetic alterations, will be described in the context of epidemiological analysis and experimental biology. The symposium is organized by Robert Brown, MD, professor of neurology, and director of  Day Neuromuscular Research Laboratory and Muscular Dystrophy Association Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital. A panel of expert neurologists and neuroscientists will dissertate on the future direction of neurodegenerative disease research, with a focus on advancing novel and appropriate therapies for both sporadic and familial diseases.

In the meeting, Miles Chen, PhD and Kent Logan, MD Neurology of Chi Wellness and Chi NeuroHealth clinics will present a poster, entitled Tuina Therapy as Novel Therapeutic Strategy for Neurodegenerative Diseases. They report a case study of MS and Parkinsonís disease patients after receiving Tuina therapy. Those patients receiving Tuina appreciate marked and sustained mitigation of extremity spasticity and rigidity. Gait dexterity, speed, and agility are improved. Extremity pain and stiffness are reduced. Sense of wellness is enhanced. Moreover, empiric observations support a direct relationship between Tuina intensity (discomfort) and patient response. These two cases are unique among our neurodegenerative diseases cases because the MS patient (Case L) is also a neurologist and author of this report, and the PD patient (Case M, a MIT professor) did not use any medications. They suggest that Tuina may induce sustainable relief of spasticity and rigidity through certain neural plasticity. Pain may be a necessary signal for the brain to reorganize and overcome a monophasic or progressive injury such as seen in neurodegenerative disorders. We postulate that the ascending pain pathways may be capable of inducing reparative change to the descending spastic, motor pathways and muscle spindle gamma motor neuron overactivity. We hope to collaborate with clinicians in further clinical study of this treatment strategy for sporadic Neurodegeneration.



Scientific Committee


Robert H. Brown, Jr., M.D., D. Phil.

Professor of Neurology

Harvard Medical School 

Director, Day Neuromuscular Research Laboratory and

Muscular Dystrophy Association Clinic

Massachusetts General Hospital

Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA


Daryl A. Bosco, Ph.D.


Day Neuromuscular Research Laboratory

Massachusetts General Hospital

Harvard Medical School

Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA




Alberto Ascherio, M.D., DrPH

Associate Professor

Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology

Harvard School of Public Health

Boston, Massachusetts, USA


Raymond Bartus, Ph.D.

Executive Vice President

Chief Operating Officer

Ceregene, Inc.

San Diego, California, USA


Scott Brady, Ph.D.

Professor and Head Department of Anatomy

and Cell Biology

University of Illinois at Chicago

Chicago, Illinois, USA


Ana Maria Cuervo, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Department of Anatomy

and Structural Biology

Marion Bessin Liver Research Center

Institute for Aging Research

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Bronx, New York, USA


Kevin Eggan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Assistant Investigator

Stowers Medical Institute

Principal Investigator

Harvard Stem Cell Institute

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA


Mike Fainzilber, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Weizmann Institute of Science

Department of Biological Chemistry

Molecular Neurobiology Group

Rehovot, Israel


Alfred Goldberg, Ph.D.

Professor of Cell Biology

Department of Cell Biology

Harvard Medical School

Boston, Massachusetts, USA


John H. Growdon, M.D.

Professor of Neurology

Havard Medical School

Attending Neurologist

Massachusetts General Hospital

Boston, Massachusetts, USA


Leonard Guarente, Ph.D.

Novartis Professor of Biology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Department of Biology

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA


Bradley T. Hyman, M.D., Ph.D.

Director, Alzheimer Disease Research Center

John B. Penney Jr. Professor

Massachusetts General Hospital

Harvard Medical School

Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA


Jean-Pierre Julien, Ph.D.


Laval University

Research Centre of CHUQ

Quebec, Canada


Brian Kaspar, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Center for Gene Therapy and Neuromuscular Research

The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital

Ohio State Univeristy

Columbus, Ohio, United States


Tom Maniatis, Ph.D.

Thomas H. Lee Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Harvard University

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA


Richard Mayeux, M.D., M.Sc.

Sergievsky Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry

& Epidemiology

Director, Sergievsky Center Co-Director,

The Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimerís Disease

and the Aging Brain

Columbia University Medical Center

Sergievsky Center/Taub Institute

New York, New York, USA


Timothy M. Miller, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Neurology

Hope Center for Neurological Disorders

Washington University School of Medicine

Department of Neurology

St. Louis, Missouri, United States


Lorene Nelson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Chief, Division of Epidemiology

Stanford University School of Medicine

Department of Health Research and Policy

Stanford, California, USA


Greg Petsko, D.Phil.

Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry

Brandeis University

Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center

Waltham, Massachusetts, USA


Al W. Sandrock, Jr., M.D., Ph.D.
Senior Vice President, Neurology
Biogen Idec
Research & Development
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA


Christopher E. Shaw, MBChB, M.D., FRACP, FRCP 

Professor of Neurology and Neurogenetics

MRC Centre for Neurodegeneration Research

Head of Department of Clinical Neuroscience

The Institute of Psychiatry, Kingís College London

De Crespigny Park, London, United Kingdom


David G. Standaert, M.D., Ph.D.

John and Juanelle Strain Professor and

Vice Chair of Neurology

Director, Center for Neurodegeneration and

Experimental Therapeutics

Director, Division of Movement Disorders

University of Albama

Birmingham, Alabama, United States


Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Neurology

Harvard Medical School

Director, Genetics and Aging Research Unit

MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease

Massachusetts General Hospital

Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA


Jeffery L. Twiss, M.D., Ph.D.

Adjunct Associate Professor

Head, Neuroscience Research Laboratory

Department of Research

A.I. duPont Hospital for Children

Wilmington, Delaware, USA