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Rizwan S. Akhtar, MD, PhD

Rizwan S. Akhtar, MD, PhD Physician

Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Pennsylvania Hospital

Dr. Akhtar is employed by Penn Medicine.

Patient Satisfaction Ratings

Patient Rating Breakdown

The Patient Satisfaction Rating is an average of all responses to the care provider related questions shown below from our nationally-recognized Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Survey. Patients that are treated in outpatient or hospital environments may receive different surveys, and the volume of responses will vary by question.

Responses are measured on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best score.

Comments are submitted by patients and reflect their views and opinions. The comments are not endorsed by and do not necessarily reflect the views of Penn Medicine.

Overall Ratings

Clinical Specialties


  • Neurology

Programs & Centers:

Board Certification:

  • Neurology, 2011

Clinical Expertise:

  • Ataxia
  • Balance Disorders
  • Blepharospasm
  • BOTOX Therapy
  • Cerebellar Ataxia
  • Chorea
  • Choreoathetosis
  • Corticobasal Syndrome (CBS)
  • Deep Brain Stimulation
  • Dopamine Responsive Dystonia
  • Dystonia
  • Essential Tremor
  • Facial Spasm
  • Familial Ataxia
  • Focal Dystonia
  • Friedreich Ataxia
  • Genetic Dystonia
  • Huntington's Disease (HD)
  • Intention Tremor
  • Intermittent Tremor
  • Lewy Body Dementia
  • Movement Disorders
  • Multiple System Atrophy (MSA)
  • Myoclonus
  • Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Primary Cerebellar Degeneration
  • Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP)
  • Secondary Parkinson'S
  • Segmental Dystonia
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxia
  • Spinocerebellar Degeneration
  • Spinocerebellar Diseases
  • Stereotypic Movement Disorder
  • Stiff-Person Syndrome
  • Tardive Dyskinesia
  • Torsion Dystonia
  • Torticollis
  • Tourette's Syndrome (TS)
  • Tremor
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia (Tic Douloureux)
  • Wilson's Disease
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Practice Locations and Appointments

Insurance Accepted

  • Aetna US Healthcare
  • Amerihealth Caritas
  • Amerihealth Caritas Medicare
  • Cigna
  • Cigna HealthSpring
  • Clover Health Plan
  • CVS Health
  • Devon Health Services (Americare)
  • eLAP Services
  • Gateway Health Plan
  • Geisinger Health Plan
  • HealthAmerica / HealthAssurance, a Coventry Plan
  • HealthPartners
  • HealthPartners Medicare
  • HealthSmart
  • Highmark Blue Shield
  • Homestead Smart Health Plans
  • Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
  • Humana / Choicecare
  • Independence Blue Cross (Keystone East)
  • Intergroup
  • Keystone First
  • Keystone First Medicare
  • Multiplan
  • NJ Medicaid
  • NJ Qualcare
  • Oxford Health Plan
  • PA Health and Wellness (Centene) Medicare
  • PA Medicaid
  • PA Medicare
  • Preferred Health Care/LGH
  • Provider Partners Health Plan
  • Rail Road Medicare / Palmetto GBA
  • Remedy Partners at Penn Medicine
  • Tricare
  • United Healthcare
  • UnitedHealthcare Community Plan
  • US Family Health Plan
  • Veterans Choice Program

Education and Training

Medical School: University of Alabama
Residency: University of Alabama Hospital
Residency: Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania


American Academy of Neurology, National American Neurological Association, National Movement Disorders Society, International Parkinson's Study Group, National Society for Neuroscience, International

Hospital Affiliation

Dr. Akhtar is employed by Penn Medicine.

Hospital Privileges:

  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania: Has privileges to treat patients in the hospital.
  • Penn Presbyterian Medical Center: Has privileges to treat patients in the hospital.
  • Pennsylvania Hospital: Has privileges to treat patients in the hospital.


Description of Research Expertise:

Development of α-synuclein and amyloid-β biomarkers for Parkinson's disease and related neurodegenerative diseases.

Selected Publications:

Akhtar RS, Licata JP, Luk KC, Shaw LM, Trojanowski JQ, Lee VM.: Measurements of auto-antibodies to α-synuclein in the serum and cerebral spinal fluids of patients with Parkinson's disease. Journal of Neurochemistry 145 (6): 489-503,2018.

Irwin DJ, Xie SX, Coughlin D, Nevler N, Akhtar RS, McMillan CT, Lee EB, Wolk DA, Weintraub D, Chen-Plotkin AS, Duda JE, Spindler M, Siderowf AD, Hurtig HI, Shaw LM, Grossman M, Trojanowski JQ: CSF tau and amyloid-β predict cerebral synucleinopathy in autopsied Lewy Body disorders. Neurology 90 (12): e1038-e1046,2018.

Akhtar RS, Licata JP, Luk KC, Covell DJ, Trojanowski JQ, Lee VM: Epitope mapping of CSF auto-antibodies to α-synuclein. Movement Disorders 32 (suppl 2): S231,2017.

Akhtar RS, Xie SX, Chen YJ, Rick J, Gross RG, Nasrallah IM, Van Deerlin VM, Trojanowski JQ, Chen-Plotkin AS, Hurtig HI, Siderowf AD, Dubroff JG, Weintraub D: Regional brain amyloid-β accumulation associates with domain-specific cognitive performance in Parkinson disease without dementia. PLoS One 12 (5): e0177924,2017.

Covell DJ, Robinson JL, Akhtar RS, Grossman M, Weintraub D, Bucklin HM, Pitkin RM, Riddle D, Yousef A, Trojanowski JQ, and Lee VM: Novel conformation-selective alpha-synuclein antibodies raised against different in vitro fibril forms show distinct patterns of Lewy pathology in Parkinson’s disease. Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology 43 (7): 604-620,2017.

Akhtar RS, Xie SX, Brennan L, Pontecorvo MJ, Hurtig HI, Trojanowski JQ, Weintraub D, and Siderowf AD: Amyloid-β PET imaging of Alzheimer pathology in Parkinson disease dementia. Movement Disorders Clinical Practice 3 (4): 367-375,2016.

Pigott K, Rick J, Xie SX, Hurtig HI, Chen-Plotkin AS, Duda JE, Morley JF, Chahine LM, Dahodwala N, Akhtar RS, Siderowf AD, Trojanowski JQ, and Weintraub D: Longitudinal study of normal cognition in Parkinson’s Disease. Neurology 85 (15): 1276-1282,2015.

Akhtar RS, Stern MB: New concepts in the early and preclinical detection of Parkinson's disease: therapeutic implications. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics 12 (12): 1429-1438,2012.

Akhtar RS, Horn SS: Psychiatric manifestations of common neurologic disorders. Principles and Practice of Geriatric Psychiatry 2 ed : 735-744,2011.

Akhtar RS, Latham CB, Siniscalco D, Fuccio C, Roth KA: Immunohistochemical detection with quantum dots. Methods in Molecular Biology 374 : 11-28,2007.

Akhtar RS, Klocke BJ, Strasser A, Roth KA: Loss of BH3-only protein Bim inhibits apoptosis of hemopoietic cells in the fetal liver and male germ cells but not neuronal cells in bcl-x-deficient mice. Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry 56 (10): 921-927,2008.

Akhtar RS, Roth KA: Regulation of neural stem cell death. Neural Development and Stem Cells 2 ed. : 97-122,2006.

Akhtar RS, Geng Y, Klocke BJ, Latham CB, Villunger A, Michalak EM, Strasser A, Carroll SL, Roth KA: BH3-only proapoptotic Bcl-2 family members Noxa and Puma mediate neural precursor cell death. The Journal of Neuroscience 26 (27): 7257-7264,2006.

Akhtar RS, Geng Y, Klocke BJ, Roth KA: Neural precursor cells possess multiple p53-dependent apoptotic pathways. Cell Death and Differentiation 13 (10): 1727-1739,2006.

Akhtar RS, Ness JM, Roth KA: Bcl-2 family regulation of neuronal development and neurodegeneration. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1644 (2-3): 189-203,2004.

Ness JM, Akhtar RS, Latham CB, Roth KA: Combined tyramide signal amplification and quantum dots for sensitive and photostable immunofluorescence detection. Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry 51 (8): 981-987,2003.

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Academic Contact Info

330 South 9th St, Fourth Floor
Penn Medicine Pennsylvania Hospital

Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: (215) 829-6500
Patient appointments: 800-789-7366 (PENN)