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BrightFocus Scientific Reviewer Wins Prestigious Prize for Alzheimer’s Disease Research

March 4, 2011

JACKSONVILLE — The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has awarded the 2011 Potamkin Prize to Dennis Dickson, M.D., a neuropathologist at Mayo Clinic in Florida and the Robert E. Jacoby Professor for Alzheimer's Disease Research. Dr. Dickson has served as a standing member of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Scientific Review Committee for the BrightFocus Foundation since 1999.

The Potamkin Prize honors researchers for their efforts advancing the understanding of Pick's disease, Alzheimer's disease and related disorders. The $100,000 prize is for continuing research and is shared evenly between Dr. Dickson and Drs. Eva Maria Mandelkow and Eckhard Mandelkow of the Max-Planck-Unit for Structural Molecular Biology in Germany.

The Potamkin Prize was awarded to him in recognition of his wide-ranging neuropathologic research in neurodegenerative disorders, in particular studies on tau protein, which is also the research focus of the Mandelkows, with whom he shares the award. Tau is a protein that accumulates in tangles in the nerve cells in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease and other disorders that are collectively termed "tauopathies." Partly because of his research, scientists now believe that tau has a critical role in causing dementia in Pick's disease and Alzheimer's disease and movement problems in PSP and other atypical parkinsonian disorders.

"I am honored to receive this award, but it is an award that would not have been possible without the many contributions from my mentors and colleagues at Mayo Clinic in Florida and Rochester and at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York," Dr. Dickson says. "I work with outstanding research scientists and clinicians at Mayo Clinic, and I also have superb technical support in the Mayo Clinic neuropathology and electron microscopy laboratories."

Dr. Dickson directs the brain bank at Mayo Clinic in Florida and is responsible for neuropathologic studies of brains to identify and describe changes that occur because of Alzheimer's and other neurological disorders, including Pick's disease and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). His research helps to identify treatment targets and methods to improve diagnostic accuracy, which are the first steps on the pathway to creation of new therapies and disease prevention. His work combines histologic studies of the brain with neurochemistry and correlates with brain imaging and genetic findings, which are done in concert with other researchers at Mayo Clinic. Dr. Dickson also assists in evaluation of neuropathology of experimental animal models of Alzheimer's and other neurologic disorders.

"The efforts of clinicians and scientists with whom I collaborate facilitate discoveries that will eventually lead to improved diagnosis and treatment of these incurable diseases," Dr. Dickson says. "Mayo Clinic also provides exceptional support for the neuropathology laboratory and the brain bank. In addition, our patients make an extraordinary contribution, through their participation in research and with their philanthropy."

The Potamkin Prize is made possible by a donation to the American Academy of Neurology by the Potamkin family of New York, Philadelphia, and Miami. The goal of the prize is to help attract the best medical minds and most dedicated scientists in the world to the field of dementia research.

About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit MayoClinic.com or MayoClinic.org/news.

About the BrightFocus Foundation

The BrightFocus Foundation (www.brightfocus.org) is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to finding cures for age-related degenerative diseases. The foundation funds research on Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma and provides the public with free information about these diseases, including risk factors, preventative lifestyles, and current treatments and coping strategies.

View all news updates for Alzheimer's disease

Disclaimer: The information provided in this section is a public service of the BrightFocus Foundation, and should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional, and is not intended to constitute medical advice. Although we take efforts to keep the medical information on our website updated, we cannot guarantee that the information on our website reflects the most up-to-date research. Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice; all medications and supplements should only be taken under medical supervision. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical product or therapy.

Some of the content in this section is adapted from other sources, which are clearly identified within each individual item of information.

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