Podcast Episode 34: New Pathways & Drug Development

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Developing medical treatments today for the most part depends on identifying a problem, whether it is physical, metabolic, behavioral or psychological and then targeting a treatment for that problem. Knowing what process causes a disease or symptom helps direct discovery of its potential treatments. In the case of Parkinson’s disease, modern techniques such as brain imaging, biochemical tests, and laboratory studies can reveal likely targets for designing new treatments. In this podcast, Michael Okun, National Medical Advisor of the Parkinson’s Foundation and Co-director of the University of Florida Movement Disorders Center, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, discusses Parkinson’s disease mechanisms as possible targets for drug development, where certain drugs stand now, and how the process of bringing a drug to market for PD may be sped up.

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About This Episode

Released: July 31, 2018

Michael Okun, MD

Dr. Okun is Chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Florida, as well as Co-Director of the UF Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration. Dr. Okun has long been dedicated to the interdisciplinary care concept, and since his appointment as the National Medical Director for the National Parkinson Foundation in 2006, he has worked with the 43 international Parkinson’s Foundation Centers of Excellence to help foster the best possible environments for care, research, and outreach in Parkinson disease, dystonia, Tourette, and movement disorders.

In addition to his role as National Medical Director for the Parkinson’s Foundation, he is the Medical Advisor for Tyler’s Hope for a Dystonia Cure and Co-Medical Director for the Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA).

Dr. Okun has enjoyed a prolific research career exploring non-motor basal ganglia brain features, and he has participated in pioneering studies exploring the cognitive, behavioral, and mood effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS). Dr. Okun holds the Adelaide Lackner Associate Professorship in Neurology, has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles, is a published poet (Lessons From the Bedside, 1995), and has served as a reviewer for more than 25 major medical journals. He has been invited to speak about Parkinson’s and movement disorders all over the world.

Dr. Okun earned his BA in history from Florida State University and his MD from the University of Florida, with honors. He completed an internship and neurology residency at UF. Following residency, he was trained at Emory University.


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