Our Foundation

IND's non-profit, the Parkinson’s & Alzheimer’s Research and Education Foundation (PAREF), is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization focused on the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Established in 2004, the foundation supports research, education, support services, community outreach, and wellness activities for people affected by Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), and other neurodegenerative diseases.

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We exist because...

Neurodegenerative diseases affect millions of people worldwide, and their prevalence is increasing at a rate disproportionate to longevity. We know that these diseases result from progressive damage to cells in the brain and nervous system, but we must improve our understanding of these conditions and seek novel approaches for treatment and prevention. Neurodegenerative diseases develop decades before the first obvious symptoms begin. While there is no “magic pill” to prevent these disorders, implementing evidence-based, multimodal intervention strategies before clinical symptoms manifest can enhance brain health and may ultimately prevent or delay disease onset.

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Our mission

Our mission is to support research initiatives, educational programs, supportive services, and community outreach for patients, caregivers, and families with neurodegenerative diseases. We seek to raise community awareness of the need for earlier, accurate diagnosis; of new and emerging treatments; of opportunities to participate in groundbreaking research to slow or stop progression, to find a cure, and to develop more effective and safer medications; and of available educational and supportive services.

Our impact

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We offer educational resources – including a free online brain health course – that are available to the greater public.

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We have multiple ongoing research studies that aim to identify more effective methods for accurate diagnosis, risk assessment, and precision care using biomarker development, brain imaging, and genetic testing.

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We provide educational seminars, annual symposia, patient and caregiver support groups, wellness activities, and balance and safety workshops in the South Florida area.

About Parkinson’s Disease & Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disorder and the costliest disease in the U.S. It affects over 5.8 million Americans and tens of millions of people around the world. While there are currently a few FDA-approved therapies that offer modest benefits, and there are some disease-modifying therapies currently being studied, there is no cure on the horizon. However, as many as 4 out of every 10 cases of AD may be preventable based on modifiable risk factors (based on the 2020 Lancet Commission Report). PAREF aims to educate the public about these lifestyle-based interventions for patients at risk.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative brain disorder that causes tremors and difficulty with movement and coordination. Parkinson’s affects nerve cells—called neurons—in a particular part of the brain called the substantia nigra. These neurons normally produce dopamine, a brain chemical that relays messages between the substantia nigra and other parts of the brain that control muscle movement. These dopamine-producing neurons are slowly destroyed over time, eventually preventing normal control of movement. The cause of the neuronal degeneration is unknown. In the U.S. more than fifty thousand new PD cases are diagnosed each year. Symptoms of PD (which can include, but are not limited to, muscle rigidity, tremors, slowed movement, drooling, and difficulty with balance) may initially be mild and may affect one or both sides of the body.

Traditionally, neurodegenerative diseases have been divided into cognitive disorders (i.e. AD, FTD, LBD) and movement disorders (i.e. PD, MSA, PSP). This has resulted in the field of cognitive disorders operating independently from the field of movement disorders in terms of treatment, management, and research and development. However, we believe that there is substantial overlap between neurodegenerative diseases. By uniting the fields of cognitive and movement disorders, we believe we can gain a deeper understanding of their shared pathological mechanisms and find better opportunities for successful prevention.

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