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Innovations and Challenges in Parkinson’s Research

On June 12, 2019, the Alliance for Aging Research, in partnership with the Michael J. Fox Foundation, held a Capitol Hill briefing on Parkinson’s disease. The briefing marked the release of the Parkinson’s Disease Fact Sheet, the latest publication in The Silver Book series, an almanac of resources on chronic diseases compiled by the Alliance for Aging Research. The fact sheet features a new study conducted by the Lewin Group on the economic burden of Parkinson’s Disease in the United States. The Michael J. Fox Foundation received the Research!America Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion in 2003. 

Congressman Gus Bilirakis, Co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Parkinson’s Disease, gave a few words at the beginning of the briefing. He began by saying “this issue is very close to my heart. Parkinson’s has touched my family in several ways.” The Congressman expressed support for increased NIH funding for research on Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions, stating “we’re not going to rest until we find a cure.”

Image Credit: Parkinson’s Foundation

Ted Thompson, JD, Senior Vice President of Public Policy at the Michael J. Fox Foundation, outlined the main findings from the economic study. The updated estimate of the total annual cost of Parkinson’s disease in the United States is $51.9 billion, which includes $25.4 billion in direct medical costs, and $26.5 billion in indirect costs. Thompson emphasized that if we could identify people at risk for Parkinson’s disease earlier, we could reduce this cost. He also noted that federal spending on Parkinson’s related health care reached $25 billion in 2017 and federal spending for Parkinson’s disease research totaled $188 million.


This blog post was written by Rebecca Mandt, a Research!America policy intern. Graphics used with permission from the Alliance for Aging Research