department of neurology  
Columbia University Medical Center | Department of Neurology
» close window
Stanley Fahn, MD
Movement Disorders Founding and Emeritus Director
H. Houston Merritt Professor of Neurology
Division of Movement Disorders


  • BS: University of California, Berkeley
  • MD: University of California, San Francisco
  • Internship: Philadelphia General Hospital
  • Residency: Neurological Institute, Columbia University, New York
  • Fellowship: (Neurochemistry Research) National Institute of Health
Board Certification:
American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry (Neurology)

Telephone (for appointments): 212-305-1303
Office Telephone: 212-305-5277

Insurance: Aetna CSN, UHC, Medicare, Medicaid
*Please verify insurance participation with the physician's office when making an appointment.

» Division of Parkinson's Disease and Other Movement Disorders
» Department of Neurology
» The Movement Disorder Society History in Movement Disorders: Personal Reflections
» Recent Publications

View Stanley Fahn, MD, CV (523Kb PDF Format)


Stanley Fahn, M.D. is the H. Houston Merritt Professor of Neurology and Director of the Center for Parkinson's Disease and Other Movement Disorders at Columbia University. He is the Scientific Director of the Parkinson's Disease Foundation. He has served as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Dystonia Clinical Medical Research Foundation and is currently a lifetime honorary member of its Board of Directors. Dr. Fahn had served as the founding director of the Dystonia Clinical Research Center at Columbia University, funded by this foundation. He previously served on the Medical Advisory Board of the Myoclonus Research Foundation, the Scientific Advisory Board of American Parkinson's Disease Association, and chaired the Medical Advisory Board of the Committee to Combat Huntington Disease. He currently chairs the Parkinson's Community Research Advisory Council of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson Research.

He was Vice President, subsequently President Elect, and was then President of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) from 2001-2003. He has served as Second Vice President of the American Neurological Association. He served on several committees, including chairman of some, for both these professional organizations. He founded and served as the Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Movement Disorder Society, an international organization of professionals active in this subspecialty. After its constitution was approved, he was elected its first president. He was the founding co editor of the journal Movement Disorders, and served in this capacity for the first 10 years of the journal's existence, until 1996. He has also served as Associate Editor of Neurology for 10 years. He is a member of the World Federation of Neurology Working Group on Extrapyramidal Diseases. Dr. Fahn has twice served as Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs for the Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Fahn organizes and lectures in the annual course on Movement Disorders held in Aspen, Colorado, each summer. The 2008 course will be the 18th consecutive year that this course will be held ( He organized the course on Movement Disorders for the AAN's self improvement program, Continuum. He also organized and chaired the first series of Movement Disorder courses at the AAN's annual meeting beginning in 1986 and has lectured in this course every year for more than 10 years, as well as a number of other courses at the AAN. He also founded the Unusual Movement Disorders Seminar at the AAN in 1981 and organized this seminar annually until he stepped aside after the 2001 seminar.

Dr. Fahn has published many scientific papers on Parkinson disease and other movement disorders. In December 2002, he was listed as one of the most highly cited authors by the Institute of Scientific Information ( He has been invited to write reviews and chapters and to lecture nationally and internationally on the diagnosis, classification and treatment of a variety of movement disorders. He participated in the development of rating scales for Parkinson's disease, dystonia, tremor and Huntington disease. He organized and executed the development of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) and modified and popularized the use of the Schwab England ADL score for global severity of this disease. Both of these rating scores are used world wide, the former to determine the severity of Parkinson disease (PD), and the latter as a measure of quality of life. For dystonia, he co developed with David Marsden the Fahn Marsden rating scale; for Huntington disease he co developed the Shoulson Fahn rating scale, and for levodopa-induced dyskinesias, the Lang-Fahn Dyskinesia ADL scale.

He has participated in clinical trials of many pharmacotherapeutic agents for PD. He developed a clinical trial to study the effect of levodopa therapy on the natural history of PD, which is funded by NIH. He co-directed the first controlled surgical trial for fetal tissue transplantation for patients with advanced PD. He has co edited a number of volumes related to PD, dystonia, myoclonus and other movement disorders. Along with Dr. Ira Shoulson, Dr. Fahn was a co founder of the Parkinson Study Group (PSG), a consortium of clinical investigators dedicated to conduct controlled clinical trials on the prevention and treatment of Parkinson's disease. He was co principal investigator or Steering Committee member of several PSG multi center controlled clinical trials: DATATOP evaluated antioxidant agents in the early stages of the disease; trials testing lazabemide, a specific reversible MAO B inhibitor, in early PD; trials testing pramipexole, a dopamine agonist, in early PD; a trial testing entacapone, a peripherally acting catechol O methyltransferase inhibitor in advanced PD; trials of remacemide (a glutamate antagonist) for PD and dopa-induced dyskinesias; a trial of a transdermally absorbed dopamine agonist applied by a skin patch; trials of a water-soluble form of levodopa; and trials of rasagiline, another MAO-B inhibitor for both early and advanced PD. The latest clinical trial, currently ongoing, is to study an anti-apoptotic drug with the potential to slow the progressive worsening of PD. NIH selected Dr. Fahn to deliver the 2000 Neurodegeneration Lecture, and he was asked by NIH to serve on its Oversight Committee to review and give advice on clinical trials on neuroprotection for PD. He has been invited to present plenary talks at the last four International Symposia on Parkinson's Disease which are held every 3 years and to present plenary talks at each of the seven biannual International Congresses of Movement Disorders since the congresses were founded. In 2001, he has been invited to deliver a plenary address on the future of cellular transplantation for PD at the meeting of the American Neurological Association. Dr. Fahn and his scientific colleagues at Columbia University were awarded a Morris K. Udall Parkinson's Disease Research Center of Excellence by the National Institutes of Health in 1999, and it is currently ongoing. He was selected to be Chairman and chief organizer of the first ever World Parkinson Congress which will be held in Washington, DC, in February 2006. He is currently organizing the second World Parkinson Congress, to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, in September 2010.

On dystonia, Dr. Fahn founded and directed the first Dystonia Clinical Research Center in the United States. This Center was responsible for determining the autosomal dominant inheritance pattern of torsion dystonia and for mapping the genes for this disorder, as well as the genes for dopa responsive dystonia and for X linked dystonia parkinsonism. The Center has characterized the natural history and clinical phenotype for idiopathic torsion dystonia, and has developed the treatments currently used for this condition. He was invited to address the 2001 World Congress of Neurology on dystonia as the David Marsden Memorial Lecturer. He co-organized all four international dystonia symposia, the latest being in 2002. Dr. Fahn has received numerous honors and delivered many titled lectures at a variety of universities around the world. The American Academy of Neurology honored him with the Wartenberg Award for outstanding clinical research in 1986, the First Movement Disorder Prize for outstanding contributions in this field in 1997, and their A. B. Baker Award for outstanding educator in neurology in 1996. The American Neurological Association awarded him the First Soriano Lectureship for excellence in research; the American Parkinson Disease Association, their Springer Prize; and the Blepharospasm Association enrolled him in their Hall Of Fame. He received the Srinivasan Award in Chennai, India, in February 2002. He received the Guthrie Family Humanitarian Award from the Huntington Disease Society of America in October 2003. In October 2007, he received the James Parkinson Medal, awarded once every 10 years by the Parkinson's Disease Foundation. The Movement Disorder Society presented him with its President's Distinguished Service Award in March 2005. He was co-winner of the triennial Anne-Marie Opprecht Foundation Parkinson Award in 2005 for the most outstanding scientific work on Parkinson's disease published in the years 2002-2004. The Movement Disorder Society honored him in 1993 by naming one of the two principal lectureships at its annual International Congresses after him. The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation created the Stanley Fahn Fellowship in 1998 for a trainee and the Stanley Fahn Dystonia Award in 2003, a $100,000 prize to honor an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the understanding and treatment of dystonia.

In October 2002, Dr. Fahn was elected a member of the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academies. In November 2002, he was elected an Honorary Member of the Movement Disorder Society. In October 2003, he was elected an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Neurology. In October 2006, he was elected an Honorary Member of the American Neurological Association. Dr. Fahn has been elected an Honorary Member of several foreign neurological societies: Associacion Colombiana de Neurologia, 1986; Sociedad Español de Neurologia, 1987; “Membre d’honneur à titre étranger” (Foreign Honorary Member) of the Société Française de Neurologie (French Neurological Society), 2002, and the Sociedad Neurologica Argentina, 2004.

Doctors, Department of Neurology
© 2012 The Neurological Institute of New York • 710 W 168th St, New York, NY 10032
Department of Neurology | Columbia University Medical Center | Last updated: December 4, 2012 | Comments
Neurology Columbia University Medical Center