Patients Dance to Hold Off Symptoms of Parkinson’s

February 2, 2012

In Bonita Springs, FL a group of Parkinson’s patients and their caregivers come together once per week to dance. While show tunes or Broadway music plays, patients and caregivers do improv moves, ballet techniques, and partner dancing.

The exercise helps to hold back muscle problems that are commonly associated with Parkinson’s Disease. For many people, a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease comes as a shock, since symptoms are usually first passed off as a consequence of aging. In addition to decreased motor skills due to Parkinson’s, there are other difficulties a person may not notice at first. Bradykinesia, which slows down movements, and swallowing and speaking can prove more difficult over time.

Currently, there is no definite cure for Parkinson’s disease, which has an estimated 50,000 confirmed cases in the United States. The symptoms of the disease usually occur after the age of 50. However, there are some famous examples of early onset cases. Both actor Michael J Fox, diagnosed in his 30s, and current Texas A&M basketball coach Billy Kennedy, 47, have been open about their early onset, bringing a much needed spotlight to the cause.

As for the dancers, one patient believes the exercise is helping. “All the medications deal with the symptoms of the disease, but there is no cure. We have worked through the disease for 20 years, and I feel there is no better way to retard the progress of the disease than regular exercise,” said Chuck McEwen after a dance class.

Learn more about a new Parkinson’s research study in Atlanta. Another Parkinson’s study is currently pending.

 

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Tips for Living With Parkinson’s Disease

July 18, 2011

Do you or someone you know suffer from Parkinson’s Disease?

An estimated 7 to 10 million people worldwide live with Parkinson’s disease. The disease affects men and women equally, and 4% of those with Parkinson’s are diagnosed before they turn 50. Read on for tips on living with Parkinson’s.

  1. Take advantage of technology to keep your life simple.  If mobility is a problem, invest in a good walking cane or wheelchair. Use items such as button hooks, telephones with large buttons, and utensils with oversized handles to cut down the hassle factor associated with every day occurences.
  2. Steal a pro athlete’s secret trick. Many professional athletes will visualize making the game winning shot, pass, or putt before stepping onto the field. When dealing with Parkinson’s, it may take you several attempts to do something such as getting up from chair. Rather than letting stress enter your mind, visualize your task before you do it. You are likely to be more sucessful.
  3. Stay flexible. Stretching your muscles helps you gain control. For a list of simple stretching exercises, check out this link.
  4. Maintain a healthy body weight. If you are overweight, losing weight can help your body adjust quicker to movement-related issues and can help muscles adjust to the extra demands of the disease.
  5. Always plan ahead. If you are traveling, plan on arriving at the airport early to navigate safely through security. If on vacation, plan fit ample time to rest into your flurry of activities.
New Research Opportunity 

NeuroTrials Research is conducting a study on the efficacy of a new study drug for patients with moderate to severe Parkinson’s Disease. Qualified participants may receive compensation for time and travel as well as study drug and examinations at no cost.

You may qualify if you:
  • are 30 to 85
  • are in general good health
  • experience slowness in movement
  • experience muscle rigidity or resting tremors
  • have been on a stable dose of L-Dopa for over 1 year.
Participate in research, find out how you can help. Call us today at 404-851-9934 or visit www.neurotrials.com.

How Your Dreams Relate to Parkinson’s Disease

April 26, 2011

What do your dreams have to do with your likelihood of developing Parkinson’s Disease?

A new study from Denmark’s Center for Healthy Aging and the Danish Center for Sleep Medicine, among other places, suggests that people likely to develop Parkinson’s might first show signs in their sleep pattern.Researchers found that one of the earliest symptoms of Parkinson’s may be a REM sleep disorder known as REM Sleep Behavior Disorder.

With REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, individuals tend to act out their dreams. The dreams are usually unpleasant, and the person will kick, scream, punch, or grab.

The active dreaming can appear up to eight years before other symptoms of Parkinson’s. If researchers are able to find enough evidence to support this link,  they can help patients identify the disease before it becomes too severe.