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
The red tulip, with a fringe of white, became the official symbol of Parkinson’s disease at the 9th World Parkinson’s Disease Day Conference in Luxembourg on April 11, 2005 (although the flower had been associated with Parkinson’s awareness since the early 1980s).
The tulip is described in detail as the “exterior being a glowing cardinal red, small feathered white edge, the outer base whitish; the inside, a currant-red to turkey-red, broad feathered white edge, anthers pale yellow.”
This particular tulip was developed by J.W.S. Van der Wereld, a Dutch horticulturist who had Parkinson’s disease. He named the flower after James Parkinson, the doctor who first described the disease as the “shaking palsy.”
Medical Marijuana and Parkinson's Disease
Many people wonder about medical marijuana for Parkinson’s. Research hasn’t yet proven benefits or safety. And doctors don’t have strong evidence to guide recommendations on what to use or how. Still, many people are interested in trying this therapy.
To learn more about people’s experiences with medical marijuana, MJFF hosted an online survey through Fox Insight. Recently published results suggest that, among 1,900 participants, 70 percent reported using medical marijuana. And many of them report small benefits on sleep, anxiety and pain. But 13 percent weren’t sure exactly what they were taking, and 30 percent didn’t discuss with their doctor.
Critical Advance Announced in Imaging the Living Parkinson’s Brain
In Barcelona, Spain, at the International Conference on Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s Diseases (AD/PD), a research team funded by The Michael J. Fox Foundation is announcing important progress in the pursuit of the alpha-synuclein imaging tracer — a top research priority for the Foundation because of its potential to transform drug development.
Misfolding and clumping of the alpha-synuclein protein in brain and body cells are the pathological hallmark of Parkinson’s disease. Scientists believe this toxic dysfunction gives rise to Parkinson’s onset and progression. The ability to visualize alpha-synuclein activity in the living brain would be a game-changer for testing and developing potential new Parkinson’s drugs. (Similar strategies in Alzheimer’s have had a major effect on accelerating drug development for that disease.)
If validated, AC Immune’s tracer should be a powerful steppingstone toward the critical tracer tool for alpha-synuclein in Parkinson’s disease patients.
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.
Other Resources For Your Information
Rock Steady Boxing - rocksteadyboxing.org
The mission of Rock Steady Boxing is to empower people with Parkinson’s disease to fight back.
Quiet Punch- quietpunch.com
The original home punching bag. Fits most doorways from 28" - 36" and provides easy to follow home workouts.
Listed are links for websites with other information that maybe helpful.
This information is being provided For Your Information. It is not a substitute for Professional Advise.
Caring.com is an online destination for those seeking information and support as they care for aging parents, spouses, and other loved ones.
With millions of people using these benefits and tens of thousands of providers delivering health care service under Medicare, navigating the program’s benefits can be complex.
This resource will help seniors and their loved ones understand what Medicare is and provide some basics about how the various aspects of the program work, such as whether Medicare will cover senior care services like an assisted living community or home health care.
By 2030, 20 percent of the US population will be 65 and over. To help serve this growing population, Caring.com looked at 70 metrics to rank the best and worst places for senior living.
Most people don’t enter care giving thinking that they’re putting their own health in harm’s way. But those who provide care to a frail loved one tend to live with high chronic stress and skimp on self care.
I was asked to participate in a podcast about Parkinsons Disease and the DBS surgery I had. I was honored to be asked so I did.
The podcast is part of a series called “This is Your Brain with Dr. Phil Stieg“. It is about how the brain affects your health and life. Dr. Phil Stieg is Neurosurgeon-in-Chief of New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and founder and Chairman of the Weill Cornell “Medicine Brain and Spine Center.
The Parkinson's podcast is hosted by Dr. Phil Stieg and includes Dr. Michael Kaplitt, my neurosurgeon and myself. It is a 2 part series discussing Parkinsons and DBS surgery. We discuss how the symptoms of Parkinson's disease progress and can degrade your quality of life. In Part 2 we discussed my view of the Deep Brain Stimulation surgery I had in the Fall of 2019.
To listen to the podcasts click the links below.
Part 1 - Facing Parkinson's Disease
Part 2 - Fighting Parkinson's with DBS