With today’s treatment options for Parkinson’s disease, many patients can live full, active lives for many years. Great strides have been achieved at reducing long-term disability for the disease.

Recently, Governor Ed Rendell announced his Parkinson’s diagnosis and treatment at Penn Medicine. With help from his medical team at Pennsylvania Hospital, his physician therapists at Good Shepherd Penn Partners, and his personal trainer, he continues to manage his symptoms while sticking to a rigorous schedule he has followed for years, dating back to his tenure as Governor and Philadelphia mayor.

For most patients, the problems are generally much worse in anticipation than reality. It’s not to say that this isn’t a potentially disabling disease, but it’s a very heterogeneous one with variability in signs, symptoms, severity, and rate of progression. For example, Parkinson’s is often characterized by tremors, but about one third of patients never develop tremors. Penn experts can speak about the myths surrounding Parkinson’s, the treatment of the disease—including boxing programs—and future breakthroughs, such as the use of precision medicine to tailor therapies for Parkinson’s patients based on their genes.


  • Alice Chen-Plotkin, MD, Parker Family associate professor of Neurology, can discuss her work advancing the field by exploring precision medicine for Parkinson’s disease, looking at how to tailor therapies for individual patients based on their genes.


  • Kacy Cullen, PhD, research associate professor of Neurosurgery, can discuss upcoming breakthroughs in treatment, and his work to create the first implantable tissue-engineered brain pathways in an attempt to “turn back the clock” on the progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s.



Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $7.8 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report’s survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation’s top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $405 million awarded in the 2017 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center — which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report — Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital – the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, a leading provider of highly skilled and compassionate behavioral healthcare.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2017, Penn Medicine provided $500 million to benefit our community.

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