- Associated Press - Sunday, April 6, 2014

ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) - A coalition is hosting a second fundraiser on April 12 to benefit research at the University of Kentucky on Parkinson’s disease.

According to the Daily Independent (http://bit.ly/1qctPtj), the organization’s first event last year raised $8,000 for research.

The group was formed by Deanna Arrington, who died last month of ovarian cancer. Arrington was diagnosed in 2002 with Parkinson’s.

According to statistics from the University of Kentucky, the degenerative disease affects about 1 million Americans.

Physicians at UK are working on a pilot program in which Parkinson’s patients who have deep-brain stimulation surgery - in which a device like a pacemaker regulates nerve cues in the brain - also are having nerve tissue taken from near their ankles grafted into their brain. The tissues are the kind that can regenerate.

The hope is the implanted nerve tissue will release chemicals that will help the brain heal itself by stimulating regeneration in the parts of the brain damaged by Parkinson’s.

Dr. Craig van Horne, assistant professor of neurosurgery and principal investigator of Parkinson’s research at UK, said the donation the group made has been helpful.

“We’re trying to either halt the progression of the symptoms or slow the progression of the symptoms over time,” Horne said. “At this point, nothing does that. But right now, we’ve implanted six patients and we’re starting to see positive results.”

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Information from: The Independent, http://www.dailyindependent.com