- March 18, 2019
-- The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) welcomes Joel S. Perlmutter, MD as the new Scientific Director. Dr. Perlmutter is the Elliot H. Stein Family Professor of Neurology, Professor of Radiology, Neuroscience, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy, and Head of the Movement Disorders Section at Washington University in St. Louis, and Co-Director of the Dystonia Coalition.
"DMRF's research efforts are ultimately directed to improving patients' lives, and we partner with experts of the highest caliber to guide our strategy and efforts. Dr. Perlmutter is a pioneer in movement disorders and has dedicated his career to methodically advancing research and caring for patients living with difficult neurological disorders. He has been a great friend to the dystonia community for many years. It's our pleasure and privilege to welcome him as our next Scientific Director," stated DMRF President Art Kessler.
Dr. Perlmutter has been a longtime advisor to the DMRF, serving on the Medical & Scientific Advisory Council (MSAC) for more than 10 years. He is also active in the DMRF's patient education programs and public awareness efforts. The prestigious Perlmutter Laboratory focuses on movement disorders including dystonia and Parkinson's disease. Dr. Perlmutter and his team specialize in the novel use of neuroimaging techniques, such as PET (positron-emission tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), to better understand brain functions impacted by movement disorders, study the effects of drugs in the brain, investigate mechanisms of action of deep brain stimulation, and test new treatments. The Lab also supports the career development of young investigators. Dr. Perlmutter is a highly sought after and trusted clinician.
As Scientific Director, Dr. Perlmutter will work closely with DMRF Chief Scientific Advisor Jan Teller, MA, PhD and DMRF Vice President of Science Richard Lewis, MD in planning and evaluating the Foundation's scientific efforts. He will also serve as the Chairperson of the MSAC and offer guidance to the DMRF Board of Directors on dystonia research.
Dystonia is a chronic, often disabling, neurological disorder marked by extreme, involuntary muscle contractions that cause abnormal body movements and postures. Common signs include abnormal movements of the head and neck, excessive blinking, a breathy or choking voice, hand cramps, or a twisted foot. Because dystonia is not better known, symptoms are often mistaken for mental illness, intoxication, or poor social skills. Dystonia impacts people of all ages and backgrounds. There is currently no cure, and though treatments exist there is no single therapy that benefits even a majority of patients.
The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) is the leading dystonia patient advocacy organization. Founded in 1976, the DMRF mission is to advance research toward improved treatments and a cure, promote education and awareness, and provide support resources to affected individuals and families. The DMRF can be reached at https://www.dystonia-foundation.org
or 800-377-DYST (3978).