EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE UNTIL 12 PM ET, February 21, 2012
NEW ORLEANS – The American Academy of Neurology and the ALS Association are awarding the 2012 Sheila Essey Award: An Award for ALS Research to Christopher Shaw, MBChB, MD, FRACP, with the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London. Shaw will receive the award during the Academy’s 64th Annual Meeting, April 21-28, 2012, in New Orleans. The Annual Meeting is the world’s largest gathering of neurologists with more than 10,000 attendees and more than 2,300 scientific presentations on the latest research advance in brain disease. The Essey Award recognizes individuals who have made significant research contributions in the search for the cause, prevention of and cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The $25,000 prize is to be used toward continuing ALS research. ALS is a motor neuron disease which is characterized by the gradual degeneration and death of motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord leading to muscle weakness. People with ALS eventually become paralyzed and die from respiratory failure on average three years after symptoms first appear. Shaw is receiving the award for his research investigating mutated genes for answers as to how and why some people get ALS. Many mutated genes increase disease risk by causing toxic proteins to form clumps in the brain, which causes neurodegeneration. Shaw’s research has focused on a specific toxic protein called TDP-43, which is found in about 95 percent of all people with ALS. “Only through a better understanding of the event underlying the ALS disease process can we identify new therapies and discover drugs to alter the course of this terrible disease,” said Shaw. Sponsored by the American Academy of Neurology and the ALS Association, this award is supported through the philanthropy of the Essey family. Learn more about ALS at http://www.aan.com/patients.
The American Academy of Neurology is the world's largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with 32,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.