What’s New In Parkinson’s
One Senior Place presents the latest in research, medication and treatments
VIERA Parkinson’s disease affects nearly one million people in the U.S. — and 4,000 of them live in Brevard. For Parkinson’s patients and their family members, new information brings hope and greater understanding of the progressive disease of the nervous system, which chiefly affects middle-aged and older people. The public is invited to join One Senior Place in Viera at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 8 when they present What’s New in Parkinson’s? The marketplace of senior resources at 8085 Spyglass Hill Road will welcome Dr. Anwar Ahmed, Medical Director of Neurology for AdventHealth in Winter Park, for a discussion on the latest research, medication and treatments for Parkinson’s disease.
To obtain a Zoom link or confirm in-person attendance, call One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging at 321-751-6771.
Barbara Fradkin is the Director of One Senior Place in Viera, a source of free onsite advice, education and events. What’s New in Parkinson’s? is co-presented by the Brevard Parkinson’s Support Group.
“Research is crucial to patients with Parkinsons disease,” said Ms. Fradkin. “New treatments are constantly being developed that can give real hope to those suffering with the disease. Dr. Ahmed will discuss the latest research and the best treatments currently in use. People newly diagnosed with Parkinsons and those keeping up with advancements will enjoy this talk.”
Michael J Fox Credits His Wife Tracy Pollan For Helping Him Through His Diagnosis And Beyond
When diagnosed with a chronic disease as Michael J. Fox was, it’s only natural to ask, “Why?” Perhaps there’s a comfort in understanding the cause and effect in this situation. Maybe just being able to connect the dots creates some control. However, the “why” is often the most difficult if not impossible factor to determine.
Despite all of the research into Parkinson’s, the exact cause of it remains unknown, according to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Several components are connected to the disease, but like random jigsaw puzzle pieces, it is still not clear how these elements come together to cause Parkinson’s. What we do know is that early-onset Parkinson’s usually has a genetic factor . In fact, research is finding connections between certain genes and the likelihood of developing this form of Parkinson’s disease. Yet, it is possible to have these genes and never develop the disease at any point in your life.
Despite all of the unknowns, Fox has maintained an optimistic outlook in part because of the support of his wife Tracy Pollan. “We didn’t know what to expect,” Fox tells NBC’s Today. “One of the things I’ll always love Tracy for is that at that moment, she didn’t blink.” And according to a teary-eyed Fox, through all the ups and downs that followed, she still hasn’t blinked.
The Challenges Of Parkinson’s & How Kiziks Help
Sometimes Parkinsons disease can complicate the basic daily activities a person living with Parkinsons once did easily, like bathing, dressing, eating, sleeping and even walking. Tremors, rigidity, and unbalance that often come with Parkinson’s can feel like a setback to a “normal” life. The truth is that the management of these symptoms is no simple task, that’s why we want to help remove one of the challenges they present.
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How Does Parkinsons Disease Affect The Brain
Explaining the Science Behind Parkinsons Disease
What makes Parkinsons disease distinctive from other movement disorders is that cell loss occurs in a very specific region of the brain called the substantia nigra . The nerve cells, or neurons, in this region actually appear dark under a microscope .
Those dark neurons produce a specific type of neurotransmitter called dopamine. The neurotransmitter dopamine helps to regulate movement. This loss of dopamine is the reason that many treatments for Parkinsons Disease are intended to increase dopamine levels in the brain. Future research will hopefully tell us more about alpha-synuclein. Learn more about APDA research initiatives here.
In addition to decreases in dopamine and the cells that make dopamine, you might also read or hear about alpha-synuclein . We do not yet know what this protein does in the healthy brain, but in Parkinsons disease it clumps up in what are called Lewy bodies. Researchers believe that alphasynuclein build-up contributes to the cause of Parkinsons disease and that it may be possible to develop new treatments based on this idea.
Michael J Fox Stepped Away From Television And Created A Foundation
After going public in 1998 with his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, Michael J. Fox found support from Meredith Baxter, the actress who played his mother on “Family Ties.” She said in a statement provided to The Washington Post, “The fact that Michael is passing along his experience and truth is a very courageous and loving thing to do.” After telling the world about his condition, Fox continued his role on “Spin City” as the Deputy Mayor of New York City Mike Flaherty for another two years.
“One of the reasons I left ‘Spin City’ was that I felt my face hardening,” Fox explained to The New York Times. “My movements were constricted. If you watch episodes from the last couple of seasons, you’ll see I would anchor myself against a desk or the wall. Eventually it was too burdensome.”
As it turned out, Fox’s final performance as Mike Flaherty before retiring from “Spin City” was on the 100th episode of the popular sitcom, per the Michael J. Fox Foundation. It wasn’t long after this curtain call that he opened his foundation with the mission to cure what’d long been considered an incurable disease.
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Risk Of Falls May Predict Difficulties With Swallowing Small Study Finds
A heightened fear of falling common for Parkinsons patients due to balance and walking problems is significantly associated with greater swallowing difficulties among these people, a small study shows. Notably, this association was observed even when adjusting for potential influencing factors such as disease duration, suggesting these symptoms
Highlights From The Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System
Parkinsonism, including Parkinsons disease, can have significant impacts for those affected, their caregivers, and society. With a growing and aging population, it is estimated that the number of Canadians living with parkinsonism will double between 2011 and 2031 and that the incidence will increase by 50%.Footnote 1
The Public Health Agency of Canada , in collaboration with all Canadian provinces and territories, conducts national surveillance of parkinsonism to support the planning and evaluation of related policies, programs, and services. This fact sheet presents an overview of the data on diagnosed parkinsonism, including Parkinsons disease, from the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System .
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What Will A Cure For Parkinson’s Look Like
Parkinson’s varies so much from person to person. There are over 40 symptoms of Parkinsons. Tremor. Pain. Hallucinations. Everyones experience is different.
Because of this, there may not be a single ‘cure’.
Instead we may need a range of different therapies to meet the needs of the individual and their specific form of the condition.
This mix may include treatments, therapies and strategies that can:
- slow or stop the progression of the condition
- replace or repair lost or damaged brain cells
- control and manage particular symptoms
- diagnose Parkinson’s at the earliest possible stage.
And this could involve medical treatments, such as drugs and surgical approaches, as well as lifestyle changes, for example to diet and exercise.
Nerve Damage Seen In Skin Can Predict Parkinsons Progression
In Parkinsons patients, greater nerve damage in the skin around the ankle is significantly associated with subsequent progression of motor symptoms, while the presence of such damage in neck skin is linked to progressive cognitive decline, a study shows. Notably, this nerve damage progression was not related to increased
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Michael J Fox Retired From Acting A Second Time
Despite returning to the small screen on TV shows like “Scrubs,” “Boston Legal,” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” after his initial retirement, Michael J. Fox announced in November 2020 that he was entering a second retirement from acting. “There are reasons for my lapses in memorization be they age, cognitive issues with the disease, distraction from the constant sensations of Parkinson’s, or lack of sensation because of the spine but I read it as a message, an indicator,” he wrote in his 2020 memoir .
When thinking of Parkinson’s disease, many may picture difficulty walking or shaking. However, as the Parkinson’s Foundation explained, there are also cognitive issues such as “difficulty remembering information or have trouble finding the right words when speaking.” In addition, language difficulties connected to Parkinson’s can manifest themselves during times of stress or when under pressure . Other non-movement symptoms can include difficulty making decisions and maintaining focus especially in a group situation, as well as a general slowing down in one’s thinking.
Even though Fox may have put acting behind him, he remains hopeful that he might find himself in the spotlight again while simultaneously accepting it may never happen. “That could change, because everything changes. But if this is the end of my acting career, so be it,” he wrote.
How Could Stem Cells Help People With Parkinson’s
Stem cells are the parent cells of all tissues in the body. This means they can turn into any type of cell. The hope is that they will eventually be able to make these cells into specific types of cells, like dopamine-producing neurons, that can be used to treat Parkinson’s disease. However, there are concerns that patients may have the same risk of increased involuntary movements as those who undergo fetal cell transplantation. And, like fetal cell transplantation, stem cell therapy is surrounded by moral and ethical controversy.
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Common Scale Of Motor Symptom Severity May Have Flaws: Study
A commonly used measure of how motor symptoms are affecting daily life could also for people in early stages of Parkinsons disease be taking into account the contribution of their non-motor symptoms, a study suggests. This is a likely reason for the discrepancies seen in evaluations made by patients
Phase 1b Trial Of Ytx
Yumanity Therapeutics announced that its investigational therapy, YTX-7739, worked to safely inhibit stearoyl-CoA desaturase an enzyme thought to play a role in the alpha-synuclein-derived toxicity seen in Parkinsons in a Phase 1b clinical trial in people with mild-to-moderate disease. Data from this trial, conduced in the Netherlands, is
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How Many Canadians Live With Parkinsonism And How Many Are Newly Diagnosed Each Year
Based on the latest estimates available , in 20132014, approximately 84,000 Canadians aged 40 years and older were living with diagnosed parkinsonism and 10,000 Canadians were newly diagnosed with this condition . The age-standardized prevalence was 1.5Footnote i times higher among males than among females , and similarly the age-standardized incidence was 1.7Footnote i times higher among males than females . The epidemiological burden of parkinsonism increases with age. In 20132014, when comparing estimates among Canadians aged 85 years and older vs. those aged 40-44 years, the prevalence of the condition was 169Footnote i times higher in the older age group , while the incidence was 48Footnote i times higher in the older age group .
Figure 1: Prevalence of diagnosed parkinsonism, including Parkinsons disease, by sex and age group, Canada, 20132014
Note: The 95% confidence interval shows an estimated range of values which is likely to include the true value 19 times out of 20. Data source: Public Health Agency of Canada, using Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System data files contributed by provinces and territories, July 2017.
Establishing Pd Research Priorities
The NINDS-organized Parkinsons Disease 2014: Advancing Research, Improving Lives conference brought together researchers, clinicians, patients, caregivers, and nonprofit organizations to develop 31 prioritized recommendations for research on PD. These recommendations are being implemented through investigator-initiated grants and several NINDS programs. NINDS and the NIHs National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences held the Parkinsons Disease: Understanding the Environment and Gene Connection workshop to identify priorities for advancing research on environmental contributors to PD.
Research recommendations for Lewy Body Dementia, including Parkinsons disease dementia, were updated during the NIH Alzheimers Disease-Related Dementias Summit 2019 .
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Give Yourself Time To Adjust
Over time, youll likely become an expert in Parkinsons disease but right now, youre a newbie. Give yourself time for the diagnosis and all it might mean to sink in. Then, get educated: Ask your doctor for information you can take home and read, find other people with Parkinsons in your community or online to talk to, and browse sites like the National Parkinson Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
Brain Waves And Parkinsons: A Possible Link To The Flicker Effect
While searching for a way to communicate telepathically, German psychiatrist Hans Berger invented the EEG machine to measure pulsating electrical brain activity in 1924. Professing my ignorance, I know more about telepathy as advanced empathy from my PhD thesis than I do about electroencephalography, or EEG. Seldom do I
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The Actor Returned To Tv
After stepping away from “Spin City,” Michael J. Fox found he wasn’t done being an actor. In fact, it was during his Emmy-nominated role on “Boston Legal” that he had a realization. “I remember the smell of the arclight while we shot,” Fox told The New York Times. “Something about that smell made me think, Acting is what I do. And I needed to find a way to do it with my new instrument.”
For Fox, his body is his “instrument.” He often used facial expressions while acting for maximum effect. Now, Parkinson’s was forcing him to change his approach to acting. One attempt, “The Michael J. Fox Show,” was a sitcom about an affable newscaster dealing with Parkinson’s. It lasted only a few months. “I didn’t have the energy to keep the show on the track that I’d set it out on,” Fox told the magazine. Fox also explained that the intention of the show wasn’t to make Parkinson’s “funny.”
In a different approach from “The Michael J. Fox Show,” Fox took on the role of Lewis Canning, a reoccurring antagonistic character on the dramas “The Good Wife” and “The Good Fight” . A lawyer with a ruthless streak, Canning was not above using his tardive dyskinesia, a real-life side effect of certain drugs, to manipulate a trial. It’s similar symptoms to Parkinson’s brought legitimacy to the role.
Learn More About Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons Disease: The Essentials
If youre new to Parkinsons disease and would like a good overview to help you better understand the disease, please view our Parkinsons Disease: The Essentials presentation. Its a great place to get started with reliable and concise information.
The exact cause of Parkinsons is still unknown, but there is an enormous amount of research being done to learn more. This research has led scientists to formulate a number of theories on the cause of this disease.
While there is no definitive test that can be taken to determine whether a person has Parkinsons disease, movement disorder specialists look for symptoms and use brain imaging technology to accurately diagnose Parkinsons.
Even though Parkinsons is classified as a movement disorderand its motor symptoms are the most discussed and well-knownthere are many non-motor symptoms that display in people with Parkinsons as well.
As of today, there is no cure for Parkinsons disease. But there are many ways in which the disease can be treated to make symptoms more manageable.
Living With Parkinsons
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Gut Microbiome Of Patients Found To Contain Unique Bacterial Profile
Researchers at the biotech company Second Genome have identified specific intestinal bacterial strains that are either enriched or depleted in patients with Parkinsons disease, according to a press release. The data were presented in a poster, titled Strain-Level Meta-Analysis of Parkinsons Disease-Associated Gut Microbiome, at
As Several Big Pharma Companies Drop Parkinsons Projects Attention Turns To Gene Therapies And Repurposing Diabetes Drugs
Parkinsons disease research has ended in numerous dead ends despite substantial efforts over many years. Recently, Biogen and Sanofi scrapped their Parkinsons candidates, cipanemab and venglustat respectively, owing to lack of efficacy, and a disease-modifying therapy has yet to materialise.
But the push to find drugs that help beyond reducing symptoms continues, and Evaluate Vantage has delved into the pipeline of projects in active late-stage clinical trials. This year is shaping up to be crucial for the field, with 10 studies expected to yield data or to complete in 2021.
One target that crops up multiple times is GLP-1 this approach, traditionally employed in type 2 diabetes, is also being tested in Alzheimers. Among other avenues of research, it is hoped that gene therapy could offer a one-time cure for Parkinsons.
Research has suggested that GLP-1 agonists have neuroprotective benefits, and several trials of marketed diabetes drugs, as well as new GLP-1-targeting projects, are under way in Parkinsons. Some of these studies are investigator sponsored, including the most advanced, a UCL-run phase III trial of Astrazenecas Bydureon called Exenatide-PD3.
In the meantime, data are expected from several phase II studies of GLP-1 agonists, including a trial of Novo Nordisk’s Victoza, being run by Cedars-Sinai Medical in collaboration with the Danish company and The Cure Parkinson’s Trust. That study is set to complete in September.
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