About Me

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Lawrence I. Golbe, MD

I’m Professor of Neurology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, NJ and director of the department’s Division of Movement Disorders.  I majored in evolutionary biology at Brown University and went to New York University School of Medicine.  I did a couple of years of internal medicine residency at Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia before transferring into a neurology residency at NYU-Bellevue Hospital, which I completed in 1983.  I’ve been at my present institution ever since.  My research is mostly on the epidemiology, clinical genetics and clinimetrics of PSP and other parkinsonian disorders.  You can see my publications here.  I published my first paper on PSP in 1987 and serve as Director of Research and Clinical Affairs at CurePSP.  In my spare time, I try to keep my garden and my knowledge of evolutionary theory in shape and I chair the Dwight Morrow High School (Englewood, NJ) Alumni Educational Alliance.

I am grateful to the Rainwater Charitable Foundation for fully supporting the expenses of the PSP Blog and Registry.

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22 thoughts on “About Me

  1. I have previously read some of your research on PSP and atypical Parkinsonism. But this is the first time I’ve had the pleasure to review your blog and I find it terrific. I was diagnosed with MSA-P in 2008 and just became the first-ever patient named to the MSA Coalition board of directors. Besides raising awareness and funding for research, our community strives for your kind of clarity in writing to be consumed by “mere mortals” as opposed to medical professionals. To that end, have you ever written an explanation of MSA, and/or a compare/contrat of PSP, MSA and PD? Any pointers would be most welcome sir! Thank you.

  2. Hello, Mr. Golbe.

    My name is Fabiane, I am Brazilian and my father has PSP. Since there isn’t much I can do for I am not in the field, I decided to create a blog to inform people in Brazil about PSP. I’ve just found out about your blog and I’d like to know if I can translate some of your entries and/or use the information you share in my blog as well. Of course I will mention you as the author and I will also keep a link to your blog everytime I use any information from it.

    My objetive is to share all information I can about this horrible disease, because there are no support groups, sites or blogs in Brazil about it – and I think it’s crucial that family members and patients know what they are facing.

    By the way, if you need information about cases in Brazil I might be able to help you by telling about the cases I know – aside from my father.

    Thank you very much.

    Fabiane Aguiar.

  3. Dr Golbe,
    Regarding your article, “Stay in School and Drink Rainwater” suggesting external / environmental factors may be factors. My sister is recently diagnosed with PSP. She has eaten much wild game , especially antelope (American Pronghorn) but mostly Mule Deer. In terms of epidemiology, perhaps there is a connection. Please forgive my ignorance. I am , however, so very motivated to see my lovely sister be given every chance so I wish to ask your guidance. She has seen 2 docs in Denver neither of whom have presented her with options for possible treatments other than palliative rx. I mean to say as for clinical trials , etc. Please, please help

    • Ms. Schooley: I can sympathize. This is a disabling illness, but symptomatic (“palliative”) treatments can help a lot. I’m not aware of any neuroprotective (“non-palliative”) trials that are recruiting right now, but if you keep an eye on http://www.clinicaltrials.gov and search on “progressive supranuclear palsy,” you will see whatever becomes available. You can also contact CurePSP for that information. The good news is that many drug companies are interested in PSP now and there will be a number of trials opening around the US and the world in the next couple of years.
      As for exposure to wild game, I included that question in a case-control survey of PSP risk factors back in the 1980s. The result was an odds ratio of 0.6. That means that exposure to wild game was slightly LESS common among the 50 people with PSP (the “cases”) than among the 100 similar people without PSP (the “controls”). But the difference was not statistically significant, which means that it could easily have been explained by chance.

  4. Dear Dr. Golbe, my mother had PSP and recently died, but had elected not to donate her brain. I have read in an article from 2007 that a *definitive* diagnosis of PSP can only be made post-mortem. Is that still true today as we head into 2017?

    • Still true, but a little less so than in 2007. We’re slowly getting closer to having a type of PET (positron emission tomography) scan that can label the abnormal tau in the brain in a living person. This will allow the neurologist to identify a specific anatomic distribution of pathology associated with PSP, thereby ruling out such non-tau PSP mimics as Parkinson’s, multiple system atrophy and multiple small strokes. But some tau-aggregating disorders can sometimes affect the same areas of the brain as PSP, mimicking its clinical effects and producing the same tau-PET image. These include dementia with Lewy bodies, corticobasal degeneration and frontotemporal lobar degeneration.
      Another positive development is the new clinical diagnostic criteria for PSP that should be published some time in 2017. These allow neurologists to diagnose PSP in patients who have early or atypical clinical features.

      • Dr. Golbe, . It is now July 2017 and I have not seen any further blogs on the site where you were writing. Is it possible that you no longer write a blog? I would like to know as I find your material well written and very informative.. Thank you

  5. Pingback: The other anniversary: 20 years of Alpha Synuclein | The Science of Parkinson's disease

    • Thanks for that recognition. But I must share the credit with my mentor, Roger Duvoisin, and my colleagues at the time in our department’s genetics division, Alice Lazzarini, Scot Stenroos and Bill Johnson. Perhaps most important, I must point out the huge contribution to the genealogical work in Contursi by Giuseppe Di Iorio, a neurologist in Naples whom I recruited as a collaborator after I found that the families of both of my New Jersey patients with autosomal dominant PD came from that area.

  6. Hello Dr. Golbe,
    My husband was diagnosed with PSP 10 years ago. We were seeing a doctor in New York but after so many years of going into the city, he left his practice. My husband is declining and sits in a wheelchair. He still tries to walk but there are some days he can walk and others not. So we tried a doctor here in New Jersey, but after only three visits he said there’s nothing he can do to help. Is it to late for him? Is it worth going to any new doctors at this point?
    Thank you
    Marge

    • Marge —
      I’m sorry to hear that your husband has PSP at an advanced stage. Of course, I can’t give specific medical advice for a patient I have not seen, but I can say that I don’t have any new treatments that are not available to his current neurologist. In general, people with advanced PSP just need to be kept comfortable and nourished both physically and psychologically and to have the risk of complications minimized. This does not require specialized neurological skills, just ordinary geriatric care. So it would probably be best just to ask his primary care physician to provide that. If he/she is not so inclined, ask for a referral to a geriatrician or a neurorehabilitation specialist.

      Dr. Golbe

  7. I would be interested to know if any of your patients have been exposed to acupuncture or other Chinese practices including herbal medications, particularly for chronic fatigue symptoms of PSP? I look forward to your response or other suggestions for the chronic tired feelings. Does this ever go away or is this an overall major and ongoing symptom of the disease?

    MP

    • It’s true that the parkinsonian degenerative disorders like PSP can have fatigue as a symptom. But of course, many medical disorders that are much more treatable can also cause fatigue. So a primary care physician should be given the chance to evaluate anyone with fatigue regardless of what other disorder they may have at the same time.
      Sorry, but I’m not aware of any trials or anecdotal reports of acupuncture or traditional herbal treatments for fatigue or other symptoms of PSP.

  8. Hello, Professor, Golbe.

    I have seen your interests in finding a cure for patients with Parkinson disorders, my mother is diagnosed with PSP in the UK, as a family We are looking for any treatment that can help her. We have been considering stem cells therapy and IPS cells by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka which was proved to work in Japan and trials has started for Parkinson’s patients.

    Do you have any recommendations with regards to stem cells therapy or any trials that has been successful to to help patients with PSP.

    Thanks .

    • Karem: There’s plenty of potential for stem cells in PSP, but there are no clinical trials just yet except for one in Italy that was stopped prematurely. If a drug is proven to be helpful for PSP but requires regular intravenous infusions, stem cells may be programmed to produce the drug and implanted into the brain. However, stem cells as replacement for brain cells lost in PSP is much more of a task, as the cells would not only have to survive in their new home, they would have to establish connections with the native cells, often at a distance. Furthermore, there are so many areas of the brain involved in PSP that implantation in enough sites to help in a meaningful way could be impractical. If and when I learn of a legitimate clinical trial of stem cells for PSP, I’ll write a post. You can also keep an eye on http://www.clinicaltrials.gov and http://www.curepsp.org.

      • Dr. Golbe Thanks ever so much for the time that you give for people all over the world .
        Me and my family appreciate your advice.
        We’ll keep following your updates.

        Thanks

  9. My husband is in the later stages of Parkinson’s. It is a genetic form which has at least three family members noted. My husband is constantly dizzy. He has Heart Disease as well so the Northera drug is not an option. Is there anything to reduce the constant dizziness? I’ve been following your publications since my husband’s diagnoses 2011. Your dedication and drive is admirable and much appreciated.

    • Carol: This is a blog about PSP, not Parkinson’s, but I’ll do the best I can. Keep in mind that I can’t give individual, specific medical advice here.
      First, your doctor has to make sure that the dizziness isn’t just low blood pressure, which can be part of ordinary PD and also a side effect of many PD medications. If there’s no low blood pressure, then the dizziness could be a manifestation of loss of some of the connections of the inner ear or cerebellum caused by the disease. It can be treated like dizziness occurring in the setting of any other disease. Your primary care MD and neurologist deal with that sort of thing all the time. There’s no special treatment for it when it’s part of atypical Parkinson’s disease.
      Some people with a balance problem describe that symptom as “dizziness.” If that’s the case, then physical therapy for balance retraining could help.

      • Thank you for responding. My husband has Orthostatic Hypotension due to Parkinson’s. We are aware of OH issues. We are also aware of how the inner ear can be deprived from the damage caused by PD. My husband has gone through physical therapy for many months with no beneficial results. I just wanted to see if there was anything that has worked for someone else not only for PD patients, but for PSP, MSA-P patients since there are commonalities. My husband is in stage 4 of PD. It is getting more difficult for him to function. I am trying to provide him with quality of life each day. My husband’s Primary Care and Neurologist have been very good. Unfortunately there are many unanswered questions for many people. It is not easy.

        Dr. Golbe, thanks again for your time.

        Regards,
        Carol Darby

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