Emory Report
February 23, 2009
Volume 61, Number 21



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February 23
, 2009
Neurology receives millions for research

By Carie Paine

The Department of Neurology in Emory School of Medicine is giving hope to families touched by neurodegenerative disease, and several of these families are making cutting-edge neurological research possible through their generous donations back to the program.

The Emory School of Medicine has received a pledge of $2 million from Mary Louise “Lou” Brown Jewell to establish the A. Worley Brown Chair in Neurology in honor of her late husband. Worley Brown, former CEO of Rock-Tenn Corporation, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1988 and died from complications of the disease in 1997. Jewell hopes her gift to Emory will help expand research to improve detection, advance treatment, and, eventually, discover a cure for Parkinson’s.

Howell and Madeline Adams Jr. also pledged their support of Emory neurosciences through their recent gift of $1 million to endow the Adams Family Discovery Fund in Neurology and to create the Adams Family Alzheimer’s Research Fund, a spendable fund to be used to develop programs, research initiatives, training, and other activities in the Department of Neurology associated with finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. The endowed discovery fund will perpetually support research activities in Alzheimer’s disease.

“Private support from families like the Browns and the Adams make cutting-edge neurodegenerative disease research possible at Emory. These gifts will enable our team to focus on new and different approaches for treating and hopefully one day preventing these diseases by funding research before it receives federal support,” says Allan Levey, neurology department chair.

In addition to support for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s research, the department received a $500,000 gift from INVESCO co-founder Charles Brady to establish the Viretta Brady FTD Discovery Fund. The fund will enable researchers to focus effort on frontotemporal dementia (FTD), one of the top three most common causes of dementia in adults in the United States.

Although it has received much less attention than other aging-related neurodegenerative diseases, FTD is quite devastating in that it tends to strike individuals 10 to 20 years earlier than Alzheimer’s disease.

Brady established the fund to honor his wife of 13 years, Viretta Brady, an accomplished artist who was diagnosed with FTD several years ago. While still very young, she has been robbed of many joys in her life and requires round-the-clock care. However, she continues to produce her art. Her family and friends recently gathered at an exhibit of Viretta Brady’s work to celebrate her talents while contemplating the devastating effects of this disease.

“Charles Brady’s generous gift will enable us to unlock some of these mysteries associated with FTD and other neurodegenerative diseases through continued research,” says Levey.