Research Targets Neurological Disorders 

Dr. Demetrius Maraganore with Teddi Galanis (left) and Regina Phillips Valsamis, Gala Co-Chairs

Children with epilepsy, migraines and traumatic brain injuries will participate in the final phase of a far-reaching NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) research study that is expected to change the way neurological diseases are predicted and treated in the future.

Proceeds from the upcoming June 22 Hospitals’ Gala to be held at the historic Union Station in Chicago will support “The DoDoNA Project: DNA Prediction to Improve Neurological Health.” At NorthShore, 11 neurological diseases are being studied by interpreting subtle variations in a person’s DNA, which will help predict disease outcomes and improve neurological health, said Demetrius (Jim) M. Maraganore, MD, Chairman and the Ruth Cain Ruggles Chair of Neurology, and Medical Director of the NorthShore Neurological Institute.

“We have already enrolled 500 adult patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, migraine and sleep disorders into the studies,” said Dr. Maraganore. “When finished and over time, we will have 1,000 patients in each of the 11 studies and a total of 11,000 patients.”   

The DodoNA project involves building tool kits into NorthShore’s electronic medical record system. Patients in the studies have their blood drawn and their DNA and disease characteristics, severity and outcomes are stored in the database.

“When we have collected years of data and thousands of DNA samples, we will perform genetic tests to discover DNA patterns that predict disease outcomes,” said Dr. Maraganore. “These DNA tests will allow us to individualize the care of our patients and develop methods to halt the progression of neurological diseases.”

Dr. Maraganore said he and his team greatly appreciate the support the Auxiliary at Evanston & Glenbrook Hospitals and generous donors have given to The DoDoNA Project. The annual Hospitals’ Gala, “Diamonds & Dice,” will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 22.  For ticket information about the black tie affair, please visit foundation.northshore.org/gala or call 224.364.7270.  

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