Advances in ataxia research to be featured at USF Health's innovative learning and simulation center

Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance and USF host Sept. 6th event

TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Scientists, clinicians and patients will gather at the USF Health Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) in downtown Tampa Sept. 6 to share research insights and energize the search for a cure for Friedreich's ataxia (FA) and related disorders. This year, for the first time, the scientific symposium will be live streamed through the Friedreich Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) Facebook page, with opportunities for visitors to join the discussion long distance.  To connect to the live stream and learn about cutting edge research advances in FA, visit: on September 6 at 6 p.m.  You do not need a Facebook account to join.

The fourth annual scientific symposium "Understanding a Cure" will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 6, at USF Health CAMLS, 124 South Franklin Street, Tampa, FL  33602. The symposium, free and open to the public, is hosted by FARA and the USF Ataxia Research Center (ARC) and includes a tour of CAMLS. 

FA is a rare, debilitating neuromuscular disorder. Symptoms, typically emerging between ages 5 and 15, often progress to severe disability and include the following: loss of coordination and muscle weakness that leads to wheelchair use, energy deprivation and fatigue, vision impairment, hearing loss, slurred speech, aggressive scoliosis, diabetes, and life-shortening cardiac disease. There is not yet an approved treatment or a cure.

"This year's Friedreich's Ataxia Symposium will build upon the momentum of the last three years by highlighting some of the most promising discoveries yet from leading researchers in the field," said Theresa Zesiewicz, M.D., professor of neurology and director of the USF Ataxia Research Center, who moderates the symposium. "The opportunity for patients who cannot be with us in person to join the interactive symposium in real-time via Facebook has generated a lot of excitement. We're looking forward to lively discussions."

The list of speakers and the evening's agenda can be found at: 

For more information about the symposium, please call (813) 974-5909.

- About USF Health –

USF Health is dedicated to creating a model of health care based on understanding the full spectrum of health. It includes the University of South Florida's colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health and Pharmacy, the School of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences; and the USF Physician's Group.  Ranked 34th in federal research expenditures for public universities by the National Science Foundation, the University of South Florida is a high impact global research university.

- About The Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) –

FARA is a non-profit organization dedicated to curing FA through research. FARA grants and activities provide support for basic and translational FA research, pharmaceutical/biotech drug development, clinical trials, and scientific conferences. For more information, go to

SOURCE Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance