Newswise — The advances in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease that are helping retired endodontist William Gervasio, D.D.S., and others with this neurodegenerative disorder are the focus of a free public forum at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 12, at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) in the Texas Medical Center.

Titled “New Approaches for Transforming the Course of Parkinson's disease,” the forum is sponsored by the Neuroscience Research Center at UTHealth and held in conjunction with an international brain awareness campaign that is designed to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research.

The forum is at The Denton A. Cooley, MD and Ralph C. Cooley, D.D.S. University Life Center at 7440 CambridgeTo register for the event or for more information, visit

Mya Schiess, M.D., director of the Movement Disorders and Neurodegenerative Diseases Clinic and Fellowship Program at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and Gervasio’s neurologist, will lead a panel discussion on the latest treatments and, along with her colleagues, will take questions from audience members afterward.

“Much has been done to improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s disease and even more needs to be done,” said Schiess, holder of the Adriana Blood Distinguished Chair in Neurology at McGovern Medical School and a member of the Memorial Hermann Mischer Neuroscience Institute-Texas Medical Center. “The forum is a must for people who either have Parkinson’s or know someone who does.”

Gervasio was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease about four years ago and had trouble standing up and performing everyday tasks. Today with the help of Schiess and her colleagues in the UT Physicians Neurology – Texas Medical Center clinic, Gervasio is able to use a walker and is doing more on his own.

“Dr. Schiess is a godsend. She has changed my dad’s life,” said Carla Diaz, noting that her 85-year-old father used to serve on the faculty of the UTHealth School of Dentistry. “She has helped him regain muscle control.”

A slow developing, progressive disorder, the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include tremors, limb rigidity and balance problems. As many as 10 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

“The hope is that at some point in the future we’ll develop new treatments for Parkinson’s disease, which impact brain circuits,” said John “Jack” Byrne, Ph.D., the director of the Neuroscience Research Center and holder of the June and Virgil Waggoner Chair at McGovern Medical School.

The panelists include:

  • Allison Boyle, M.D., assistant professor of neurology at McGovern Medical School
  • Richard J. Castriotta, M.D., director of the Division of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine at McGovern Medical School and medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center.
  • Herbert L. DuPont, M.D., director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at the UTHealth School of Public Health and holder of the Mary W. Kelsey Distinguished Chair at McGovern Medical School.
  • Monica Verduzco-Gutierrez, M.D., assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at McGovern Medical School and medical director of the Brain Injury and Stroke Program at TIRR Memorial Hermann

The event is one of the largest, public neuroscience outreach events held in Houston, allowing members of the Houston community to interact with scientists and clinicians, as well as view demonstrations and displays related to brain function and health.

Other Link: Public Forum