2003 Potamkin Prize Honors Shared by Two Alzheimer’s Disease Researchers

The Neurology World’s Nobel Prize

St. Paul, Minn. – Two America-based medical researchers whose work is central to progress in understanding Alzheimer’s disease are co-winners of the 2003 Potamkin Prize for Research in Picks, Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders, awarded by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). Sharing the honors of this year’s $100,000 Potamkin Prize are David M. Holtzman, MD, professor of neurology at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, and Ashley I. Bush, MD, PhD, professor of neurology, Harvard Medical School. The Potamkin Prize will be formally awarded at the 55th AAN annual meeting at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu on April 2. Similar to the Nobel Prize for medicine, the Potamkin Prize honors and rewards researchers for their work in helping advance the understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Now in its 16th year, the Prize is sponsored by the Potamkin Foundation and the AAN. “The research efforts of Dr. Holtzman and Dr. Bush have provided the important and essential basic foundation for understanding how to treat the pathology related to amyloid accumulation in the brain – one of the significant risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Roger N. Rosenberg, MD, member of the Potamkin Prize Committee and past President of the AAN. “Because of their work, medical scientists are closer than ever to both understanding the bio-chemical processes that cause Alzheimer’s disease and to developing more effective strategies for diagnosing and treating Alzheimer’s disease.” Holtzman has shown how an important genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease appears to facilitate the disease process. “Using this information, it may be possible to design future treatment as well as diagnostic strategies for Alzheimer’s disease,” said Holtzman. Bush’s work focused on the ways that the chemical composition of the brain changes in people with Alzheimer’s disease. “These changes produce an effect similar to an oxidizing agent that ‘bleaches’ the brain, which is what we think kills brain cells in Alzheimer’s disease,” he said. Further clinical testing, led by Bush, has revealed a promising therapeutic approach to counteract the effects of oxidation in the brain. Holtzman joined the Washington School of Medicine as a professor of neurology in 1994, and was recently promoted to professor in the Departments of Neurology and Molecular Biology and Pharmacology at the University. He received his doctorate degree in neurology from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. In addition to his position at Harvard University Medical School, Bush is the director of the Laboratory for Oxidation Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. A board-certified psychiatrist, he completed his PhD in neuroscience at the University of Melbourne. The Potamkin Prize is made possible by the philanthropic contributions of 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.

The American Academy of Neurology is the world's largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with 34,000 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.

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