Sanford Medical Researcher Appears On ‘The Doctors’

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One of the country’s top researchers on a rare, neurodegenerative disease, called Batten Disease, works right here in Sioux Falls at the Sanford Research Center. It’s a disease that commonly begins in early childhood and is marked by seizures, personality changes, blindness, and loss of motor skills. Sanford researcher Dr. Jill Weimer is working for combat the disease.

Dr. Weimer says Batten Disease is when the neurons in your brain aren’t working properly. She says to think of the neurons in your brain as a little city. Your brain has what’s called lysosomes, which she says is like a garbage center. In Batten Disease, the lysosomes are broken down and fill up with “garbage” and kills the cells and neurons, which contributes to Batten Disease’s many symptoms. Dr. Weimer says it’s similar to having Alzheimer’s Disease in children.

Dr. Weimer is only one of a handful of labs in the country researching Batten Disease, and she says they’re looking for a molecule of sorts that causes the disease. Dr. Weimer works closely with the Charlotte and Gwenyth Gray Foundation, and the foundation recently granted her lab $440,000 for research. Charlotte and Gwenyth Gray are the young daughters of sports movie producer Gordon Gray and were diagnosed with Batten Disease earlier this year.

Dr. Weimer will also be appearing on an episode of “The Doctors” that airs Monday, October 12 on KDLT to talk about her research on Batten Disease. She says she spoke with The Doctors and the Grays about the latest in the field of research and how they’re working to find a cure and cause.

You can see Dr. Weimer Monday, October 12 on The Doctors airing on KDLT at 11 a.m.