Parkinson's disease (PD) is a motor system disorder resulting from the breakdown of dopamine-producing nerve cells in the brain. The loss of dopamine causes the symptoms of PD, which include tremors, muscle rigidity, slowness of movement, impaired balance, and changes in speech.
While the disorder gets progressively worse over time, the intensity of symptoms and rate of progression varies from person to person.
While PD can impact life expectancy, there are medications and therapies that can control symptoms for many years. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for PD. Scientists are studying how the disease progresses and working to develop new drug therapies to delay, prevent, or reverse the disorder.
While the precise cause of PD is unknown, genetic and environmental factors appear to play a role. However, more research is needed to uncover the causes and treatments for the disorder.
For more information on PD and on the research underway to fight the disorder, please visit the website
Research shows that regular exercise can help individuals with Parkinson’s manage the symptoms of their disease.
The Parkinson’s Outcomes Project, run by the National Parkinson Foundation, shows that people with Parkinson's who exercise a minimum of 2.5 hours a week experience a slowed decline in quality of life. The impact of exercise was most pronounced for individuals who started exercising earlier in the course of the disease.
A variety of exercises, including boxing, cycling, swimming, dancing and walking on the treadmill, can help. Physical therapists can help develop customized exercise plans to maximize effectiveness. As always, individuals starting an exercise program should check with their doctor before they begin.
This video from CBS News shows a great example of how boxing has helped slow the progression of Parkinson’s for patients in New York.
Use this link to view the MJFF Research Blog
Blog: What We Fund: $8 Million in New Grants for Parkinson's Research #PriorityAreas
Scientific American, “How Might the Appendix Play a Key Role in Parkinson’s Disease?” #GutHealth
Ask the MD: Gene Therapy for Parkinson's