Free Webinar Coming Up on Research Linking Parkinson’s and Mitochondrial Disease

Margarida Azevedo, MSc avatar

by Margarida Azevedo, MSc |

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Parkinson's disease webinar

A free webinar explaining why Parkinson’s disease researchers are interested in studying mitochondrial function will be at 1 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, April 6.

The Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine (FMM) is hosting the Hope Flies Health Series Webinar titled “Research Connecting Parkinson’s Disease and Mitochondrial Disease,” according to a recent press release.

Mitochondrial disease is a group of disorders caused by dysfunctional mitochondria, the organelles that are the powerhouse of the cell. Mitochondrial disease can look like other better known diseases, including autism, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), muscular dystrophy, and chronic fatigue.

Adults and children with mitochondrial disease can have features similar to other disorders like epilepsy, myopathy, developmental delay, learning disabilities, and fibromyalgia. Research has shown that mitochondrial dysfunction is often a central element of these more commonly recognized diseases.

One in 2,500 people have a mitochondrial disease, and the web of complexity and connectivity of mitochondrial medicine research makes it valuable for several different conditions.

FMM’s mission is to support the development of the most promising research and treatments of the many forms of mitochondrial disease.

The free webinar was developed in collaboration with the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF), Wilkins Parkinson’s Foundation, and Sharecare to bring awareness to mitochondrial disease and its link with Parkinson’s disease.

Although the webinar is free, participants are asked to register at

The webinar was organized so that participants can better understand why Parkinson’s scientists are interested in the mitochondria and its function. The experts will share cutting-edge advances from a project sponsored by the FMM and MJFF examining this link to trigger and stabilize the Parkin protein, which may allow it to break down impaired mitochondria, preventing cell death in patients with Parkinson’s disease. The stabilization of the Parkin protein will be a positive strike for mitochondrial conditions and Parkinson’s disease.

The experts involved in the webinar include Wolfdieter Springer, Ph.D., assistant professor of neuroscience at the Mayo Clinic; Laura Stanley, executive director of FMM; Bill Wilkins, founder of the Wilkins Parkinson’s Foundation; and Darria Gillespie, M.D.. MBA, FACEP, SVP Clinical Strategy of Sharecare, who will serve as moderator.

Springer will share the latest research on the molecular and cellular mechanisms on the basis of Parkinson’s disease pathogenesis and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Other topics include an explanation of Parkinson’s disease, the challenges and progress that researchers have seen in Parkinson’s and mitochondrial function; and an overview of the current status and progress of mitochondrial diseases, and how patients and caregivers can manage both conditions.