Can We Undo the Course of Neurodegenerative Disease?

Columbia professor Rene Hen, Ph.D., called his former student Ai Yamamoto, Ph.D. , “one of the new young stars of Columbia University.” In describing her research into neurodegenerative disease, he cited “remarkable discoveries that have generated enormous hope.”

Following her mentor at Wednesday’s event, hosted by the University’s Mind Brain Behavior Institute and sponsored by the Dana Foundation, Dr. Yamamoto expressed gratitude for these generous words, but also trepidation. “You know those movie trailers that are really good, and then you go and see the movie and are disappointed? There’s a bit of pressure here…”

Yamamoto had little to worry about. The fascinating developments she recounted suggested the possibility not only of arresting the onslaught of diseases like Huntington’s disease (HD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but of undoing the damage done.

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