Get news alerts

Banner Health doctor honored for Parkinson's disease research

SUN CITY, Ariz. (March 27, 2023) – A Banner Health doctor recently was honored by The Journal of Parkinson’s Disease for his outstanding contributions to advancing Parkinson’s disease research.

Dr. Thomas Beach, director of neuroscience at Banner Sun Health Research Institute, co-wrote a research article that won the prestigious publication’s annual “Parkinson Prize.”

The study builds on findings from over the past 15 years on the systemic nature of Parkinson’s. This research should help move the field forward with greater emphasis placed on the disease being, in many cases, a “brain-first” disorder – meaning it’s believed to start in the brain and advance to the body. There has been much debate on this topic among experts.

Data presented in the study provides “very strong evidence” the majority of patients with Parkinson’s likely will have a neurogenerative disease that begins in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), and spreads to other areas, according to a news release by The Journal of Parkinson’s Disease

“This work has only been possible through the skilled assistance of many vital individuals over the years through our Brain and Body Donation Program. This includes the efforts of our pathology technicians, headed by Anthony Intorcia, our coordinator, Lucia Sue, and our Neuropathology Laboratory Director, Dr. Geidy Serrano,” said Dr. Beach.

Dr. Charles Adler of Mayo Clinic in Arizona was among the article’s co-writers.

The paper was selected by members of the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease’s Editorial Board from among 392 articles published in the 2020 and 2021 volumes.

Dr. Beach’s research is focused on elucidating early neuropathological stages and biomarkers of normal human aging, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. His studies center on the structural and neurochemical changes of the human central and peripheral nervous system, through autopsy, biopsy and neuroimaging.

Since 1986, Banner Sun Health Research Institute, part of nonprofit Banner Health, has been a leader nationally and internationally in the effort to find answers to disorders of aging including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The institute’s Cleo Roberts Center for Clinical Research takes laboratory discoveries to clinical trials that foster hope for new treatments. Banner Health is Arizona’s leading health care provider and largest private employer. For more information, visit or visit us on Facebook.

Alzheimer Awards Banner Health Banner Alzheimers Institute Doctors Research

For further information contact us at: [email protected]

Download assets from the story