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Parkinson's research forges on at Pennington

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BATON ROUGE - Carol Harrison's active lifestyle led her to hiking trips in Nepal, Italy and Austria; but that all screeched to a halt when she was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease ten years ago.

"I had never had anything seriously wrong, not even colds.  I just wasn't a sickly person," said Harrison, a former mental health therapist.

But the disease didn't stop her from forming a Baton Rouge-based Parkinson's support group, or teaching yoga, or even showing up at Pennington Biomedical Research Center to inquire about Parkinson's research there.

Turns out there was none, until a mutual friend at the facility, Dr. Donald Ingram, took an interest.

"Someone volunteered for research that has allowed me to take a drug that has allowed me to sit here and be able to talk. We need more research volunteers," said Harrison.

Researchers are now studying microscopic worms, and how their nerves respond to certain proteins and sugars, sometimes called "Lectins."

Another by-product of Harrison's efforts is the Parkinson's Conference at Pennington, now in its second year.

"Very determined. Saw a need, didn't sit back and wait for someone else to do something, pushed ahead herself and her colleagues at really making a difference to this community of Parkinson's patients in Baton Rouge and the greater state," said Ingram of Harrison.

The conference features discussion on how to deal with disease.

It takes place Saturday, July 27, and registration is open at PBRC.edu.

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