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
As an increasing number of states authorize medical (and even recreational) marijuana, a significant number of people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) report using these products. Some describe benefit on sleep, tremor or other symptoms. Others report side effects. And many say they are unsure how to discuss with their physician.
Here, we offer general information about cannabis and Parkinson’s, tips for talking with your doctor, and more.
FOX IN THE NEWS
Parkinson's Dementia: Signs, Symptoms and Hope for the Future
Many symptoms of Parkinson's disease — shuffling gait, quivering hands, stooped posture — are easy to spot. But this disease can also cause problems that are far less visible but no less distressing. Perhaps the most worrisome is cognitive decline, which affects about 50 percent of patients.
"This is a scary, confusing and concerning topic for a lot of people,” says neurologist Rachel Dolhun, M.D., senior vice president of medical communications at the Michael J. Fox Foundation. While these feelings are natural, common misconceptions can exacerbate patients’ fears.
For starters, cognitive decline doesn't necessarily equal full-blown dementia, and many people with Parkinson's develop only mild impairment. Another misconception is that even slight memory slippage signals that rapid deterioration is imminent — but that's far more common with Alzheimer's disease than it is with Parkinson's, says Tsao-Wei Liang, M.D., chief of the movement disorders division at Jefferson Health. “It's not always relentlessly progressive, and more often than not, symptoms can be managed with medication, caregiver support and basic organizational strategies,” he says.
It's also important to know that many Parkinson's patients with some cognitive impairments are able to form new short-term memories, even if they struggle with attention and multitasking.
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