From Parkinson’s Researcher to Parkinson’s Patient – Generously giving back to support the American Parkinson Disease Association

From Parkinson’s Researcher to Parkinson’s Patient – Generously giving back to support the American Parkinson Disease Association

New York, New York, October 23, 2014 – Alice Lazzarini, PhD, an internationally recognized researcher in neurogenetic disorders and author, has announced she is donating a portion of the proceeds from her book Both Sides Now: A Journey From Researcher to Patient to the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) to raise funds to help Ease the Burden – Find the Cure for the 1 million individuals in the United States living with Parkinson disease. Both Sides Now is a unique story recounting Dr. Lazzarini’s incredible journey from sheltered childhood to a successful career in science, then from Parkinson’s researcher to Parkinson’s patient.

Roger C. Duvoisin, MD, author of Parkinson’s Disease A Handbook For Patients and Familiesand pioneering Parkinson disease researcher says of Dr. Lazzarini’s book, “One can feel the excitement and drama of the voyage that brought us to these discoveries. Our brave pioneer enjoyed all of these and so it is all the more ironic that, at the acme of her career, she should herself become afflicted with the very same disease she had spent years studying. But this has resulted in another journey of discovery, this time, one of self-discovery.”

Dr. Lazzarini raised a family as she trained to be a genetic counselor and then went on to finish her PhD at age 56. Her career has included coordinating a statewide program for Huntington disease families, contributing to the literature on neurogenetic disorders such as Huntington’s, Restless Legs, the Ataxias and Parkinson’s, and working on the development of a Parkinson’s drug for a large pharmaceutical company. In 1997, she was part of an international team that discovered PARK1, the first Parkinson-disease-causing gene mutation in the protein, alpha-synuclein, a study partially funded by APDA. APDA was also responsible for funding Dr. Lazzarini’s research that first associated the tau protein with Parkinson disease.

Dr. Lazzarini realized she was developing symptoms of the very disease she had researched and only after facing a disease that can cause complete dependency was she able to forge her independence. Through writing Both Sides Now and her partnership with APDA, Dr. Lazzarini hopes to inspire interested young women to pursue a career in science, to reach the Parkinson’s community with a message of hope, and to “pay forward” to APDA funding that supported her own Parkinson disease research.

“The irony of a pioneering researcher afflicted with the very disease she sought to eradicate mixed with the very human story of a wife and mother struggling to keep her family together makes for riveting reading. Alice’s story inspires as it informs,” states Leslie A. Chambers, APDA President & CEO.

Dr. Lazzarini is available for in-person or phone interviews and readings. Print and digital versions of the books are available to the media and book reviewers upon request.