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Rebecca German and Colleagues Take Aim at Parkinson's

Parkinsonís disease is the focus of a research project by Rebecca German, professor of biological sciences, who has been honored with a $201,969 Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant from NIHís National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders.

Date: 8/18/2004
By: Billie Dziech
Phone: 556-1707
Parkinsonís disease is the focus of a research project by Rebecca German, professor of biological sciences, who has been honored with a $201,969 Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant from NIHís National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders.

Abnormal swallowing or dysphagia is a significant component of Parkinsonís disease since it influences airway protection, nutrition, and quality of life. German and her colleagues have spent 20 years using animal models to analyze the biomechanics and muscle function of swallowing.

She described the aim of the study as an attempt ďto collect preliminary data to understand the biochemical failures during swallowing in Parkinsonís disease. We will use videoradiography (x-ray movies) and electromyography (measuring muscle function). Our ultimate goal is to use these data to systematically characterize the Parkinsonian disruption of normal swallowing function.Ē

German added, ďThis research will also help us understand the fundamental function of the biomechanics and neural control of swallowing. There is still an ongoing need for animal research to help solve significant problems that confront us all.

While there is much work being done on cures for Parkinsonís, that work is not near to providing help for people currently suffering from this disease. This project is the first step in what our research team sees as an important contribution to improving the quality of life for one of the most common problems afflicting the elderly in our society.Ē

Germanís research team includes colleagues from Harvard, the University of London United Medical Schools, and Arhaus University in Denmark, as well as Lisa Kelchner, assistant professor in Allied Healthís department of communication sciences and disorders.


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