We are all grateful to renowned actor Michael J. Fox. There are other famous celebrities who have made their Parkinson’s known and brought public interest and research dollars to help. For example, Janet Reno, our first woman United States Attorney General, Linda Ronstadt, who won a Grammy Award for her singing, and Muhammad Ali, heavyweight boxing champion. They all showed generosity and bravery, wanting to educate us all rather than hide.
Articles related to Parkinson's Disease:
- Diagnosing Parkinson’s Risk 20 Years before Diagnosis? (updated June 29, 2019)
- Parkinson’s Treatment (updated July 15, 2019)
- Pimavanserin Safe in Parkinson’s (updated April 9, 2019)
Really Common Condition
Parkinson disease is common. Each of us probably knows someone who has or had it. It’s one of the most common diseases of the nervous system. About 1 out of every 100 people over age 60 will get Parkinson’s.
Young Onset Before Age 50
Parkinson’s is not that unusual in younger individuals. For every 20 people with Parkinson’s one of the 20 might well be under age 50.
What Are the First Signs of Parkinson’s?
Probably tremor, a mild shakiness. It’s usually a shaking of one hand or the other but the shaking could be an arm or leg instead. The shaking goes away when the person actually reaches to pick up something. The tremor is there when the person’s hand is relaxed and at rest. The usual description is called a “pill-rolling” tremor. The person’s hand rests there and, all by themselves, the thumb and forefinger move as though the person is rolling a pill or a pea between them.
Gradually other things change. Walking might change, or how a person stands. The look on their face might be different.
As time goes by more symptoms appear. The arms don’t swing in quite the same way when the person walks. Their face moves less when they talk, or smile, or frown. Their voice gets quieter. The experts talk of several stages of Parkinson’s. The links below will give a lot of information on these stages and what happens over time.
Signs You Don’t See
The person’s sense of smell may be less. He might be slower thinking, not his old quick-minded self, and he might feel generally weak. The person might feel a bit ill all the time. Life’s not fun and the individual might get depressed.
There’s no way to tell ahead of time how Parkinson’s will affect a person. It does last for a long period of time, that is, it’s chronic. And as time goes by, it gradually gets worse. But some people have only minor problems. And tremor is not the worst problem for everyone with Parkinson’s.
Lots of Research on Treatments and Cures
There are large, strong efforts to find what we need to beat Parkinson’s. The research is across many areas, like types of exercise to do to slow Parkinson’s. There are studies of medicines and non-medicine treatments. There are studies of tiny processes that happen inside of cells and of animals models. Medical science has made genetically-modified animals that behave as people do when they have Parkinson’s. Researchers can test trial medicines on these animals before considering giving them to people.
ClinicalTrials.gov – National Library of Medicine (United States) – 943 studies found for Parkinson’s
National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke
National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging
National Library of Medicine (United States)
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
The Mayo Clinic