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.
Can Head Injury Cause Parkinsons Disease Understanding The Link Between Tbi And Parkinsonism
Can head injury cause Parkinson’s Disease? And does a traumatic brain injury increase a person’s chances of developing Parkinson’s?
Although it is rare for a head injury to cause Parkinson’s, it is a possible secondary effect you should be aware of.
Head injuries can also trigger certain movement disorders that look similar to Parkinson’s Disease but are in fact different.
Today you will learn more about the link between brain injury and Parkinson’s Disease. Then, at the end, we’ll show you how to treat Parkinson’s and other motor problems after head injury.
Parkinsons Surprise: Scientists Discover Sesame Seed Chemical Can Protect Against Disease
OSAKA, Japan — Could the cure for Parkinson’s disease be sitting to the top of a toasted bun? A new study finds sesaminol, a naturally occurring chemical in sesame seeds, can protect the body’s neurons and dopamine levels — the two main targets of the condition. Researchers in Japan say their early tests are so promising, they are speeding into clinical trials to see if this common and natural ingredient in food stops Parkinson’s in humans.
Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological disorder which impairs movement, causes stiffness, and a loss of balance. Common symptoms include tremors in the hands and slurred speech that worsens with age. Currently, there is no cure for the disease.
In lab experiments, a team from Osaka City University finds sesaminol handles the oxidative stress which damages cells. The chemical regulates the production of reactive oxygen species and antioxidants. Oxidative stress creates extreme pressure on the cells and causes these two components to become unbalanced. In Parkinson’s, the disease causes nerve cells in the brain which control movement to break down and die due to oxidative stress.
“Currently there is no preventive medicine for Parkinson’s disease,” says OCU Associate Professor Akiko Kojima-Yuasa in a university release. “We only have coping treatments.”
People Who Already Have Pd: Should I Get Tested And What Do I Do With The Results
Up until recently, even people with PD with a very extensive family history of PD would not necessarily receive genetic testing because there were no clear uses for the results. There has been research directed at figuring out whether PD caused by or associated with certain mutations have particular clinical characteristics . However, there remains so much variability in clinical characteristics even among people with the same PD mutation, that there are still no clear practical implications in knowing whether a PD patient harbors a particular mutation. There is also, so far, no difference in treatment or management of PD whether or not the patient harbors one of the known mutations. That may change however, with the advent of clinical trials that target particular mutations.
There are two genes that have received particular attention recently because medications are being developed that target those with mutations of these genes.
GBAis a gene that increases the risk of developing PD. The gene encodes for the GBA enzyme, a protein used by the body to break down cellular products. Having two abnormal GBA genes causes Gaucher’s disease, which is characterized by the buildup of these cellular products resulting in fatigue, bone pain, easy bleeding and an enlarged spleen and liver. When a person inherits only one abnormal gene, he or she does not develop Gaucher’s disease, but does incur a small increased risk of PD. Most people with one mutated GBA gene do not develop PD.
Study Says Dancing Helps Slow Progression Of Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Over the past decade or so, it’s become increasingly clear that brain health and physical health go hand in hand.
As such, on the advice of neuroscientists, people who weren’t necessarily that keen on athleticism have redoubled their efforts. Almost anything that’s good for your heart and circulation system, it seems, is also good for your brain.
Some experts, however, have stressed that certain activities are more promising when it comes to brain health than others. Like walking, which has been referred to as a human superpower, since our brains are always mapping out routes and distances as we make our way through the city. Other forms of exercise, such as swimming and cycling, are said to help us develop the protein needed to repair and create new brain cells.
As exciting as all these discoveries are, it’s beginning to look as if learning to dance might be the greatest superpower of all. And the reason for this might be that it’s an activity that forces us to do several different things at once.
“Walking is very good for you compared to, say, sitting,” says Joseph DeSouza, a professor in York University’s department of psychology. “But imagine walking a little faster and then start counting backwards from a hundred. That’s pushing your brain more. Then imagine you’re doing choreographed steps. And then imagine you have to step in time with someone else, all the while listening to music and, now, an instructor telling you which way to move.”
Eating This Vegetable Twice A Week Can Slash Parkinson’s Risk Study Says
Nearly a million people in the U.S. have Parkinson’s disease, per the Parkinson’s Foundation, but there’s a lot we still don’t know about why people develop the condition. According to the National Institute on Aging, some cases of Parkinson’s appear to be hereditary, but most are random and not family-based. And there’s also not much known about clear risk factors for the disease, aside from age and gender, with men more likely to succumb. However, researchers have delved into ways to lower the general population’s risk for Parkinson’s, and one study has found a vegetable that could reduce your chances of developing the disease. Read on to find out what you should be adding to your diet.
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.
The Actor Wasn’t Initially Open About His Parkinson’s Diagnosis
Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991, but he stayed quiet about it for seven years, only telling people who needed to know . Finding new career success with the film “The American President,” Fox returned to television with the sitcom “Spin City.” This, however, meant talking about his diagnosis with the network and production company. “I said it could get very bad or not get bad,” he recalled to People in 1998. “They said, ‘Let’s go!'” It would be two seasons into the show’s run before Fox told his costars about his condition.
It’s understandable that someone with Parkinson’s would feel anxiety and not want to talk about the disease. The European Parkinson’s Disease Association’s website explains that it is common for someone with this disease to experience mild to severe general social anxiety in which they are worried about being judged. And, unfortunately, that fear can exacerbate some of their symptoms like shaking. But beyond this, research shows that the way Parkinson’s disease can change a person’s brain chemistry may alone bring on feelings of anxiety. In addition, someone with Parkinson’s might develop akathisia, a different condition which mimics anxiety in that the person is uncontrollably restless.
Ultimately, Fox came to an important realization: To properly accept having Parkinson’s, he needed to be open about it. This turning point for Fox, however, meant he had to make significant changes in his life.
How Do I File A Claim For Va Disability Compensation Benefits
Timing: Typically, the VA cannot grant service-connection for a condition if there is no formal diagnosis on record. However, Parkinson’s disease is an exception to this rule. Parkinson’s is diagnosed by exclusion, meaning that a formal diagnosis is issued only when all other possible diseases have been ruled out. The VA determined that veterans should not have to wait for their condition to worsen before filing for benefits. Therefore, if you have documented symptoms of Parkinsonism but have not yet been officially diagnosed with Parkinson’s, you can still receive service connection for Parkinson’s disease. If this is the case, do not delay filing for VA compensation until you have a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis because, if VA grants you service connection, they will pay your benefits starting from the date they received your claim.
Organize your thoughts: When you are ready to apply for VA benefits, it is a good idea to take a moment to think about your symptoms and how they impact your daily life and your ability to work. Also, think about what aspects of your active-duty military service caused your illness/injury and disability. It can help to write yourself a note about this so it is in the front of your mind throughout the process.
Complete a claim form: Begin the claim process by completing a VA form 21-526 or VA form 21-526EZ. Both forms include instructions on when and how to use them. Here are links to VA’s website where you can download the forms:
This Is Who Encouraged Michael J Fox During His Darkest Days
For about 27 years, Michael J. Fox approached having Parkinson’s disease with optimism. But in 2018, after an accident that shattered his arm, that optimism was all but gone . In the months that followed, the actor watched old television programs and reflected on his earlier performances. Then, he thought of a late friend who’d also had Parkinson’s disease: Muhammed Ali.
It would be a couple years after Fox announced his diagnosis with the disease that the boxing champion reached out to him . Over a phone call, Ali told Fox, “With you in this fight, we can win.” The two then worked together to raise awareness about their shared condition. In 2018, two years after Ali’s death, Fox decided to reach out to Ali’s widow, Lonnie, and ask if his late friend had ever watched himself on TV . He did indeed. This gave Fox a new perspective. “He accepts and realizes it’s great to have been that. It’s great to have done that,” Fox told the CBC.
Someone having a temporary lack of optimism is different than being clinically depressed. However, it’s worth noting that depression is common for someone with Parkinson’s . In fact, it can be the first sign of the disease for some people. Thankfully, it is treatable, although treatment can vary from person to person. Additionally, depression is not a guaranteed symptom of the disease.
Exploring The Link Between Parkinsons Disease And Gut Health
Research at IPAN is finding growing evidence of a relationship between Parkinson’s disease and gut health. Find out how you can get involved.
The impact of our gut bacteria on our overall health is an area of science that is generating a lot of interest. While it may seem unlikely that something in our gut can influence physiological processes in the brain, there is increasing evidence to show that it is possible.
IPAN PhD student Nathan Nuzum is specifically investigating the relationship between gut bacteria and Parkinson’s disease.
He says not only is it likely that there is a relationship, but that this connection between our gut bacteria and brain may be modifiable through lifestyle factors like diet.
What we know about our gut bacteria and Parkinson’s disease so far
Nathan’s systematic review on gut bacteria and Parkinson’s disease found in nine of the 13 included studies that gut bacteria capable of producing a particular short chain fatty acid, butyrate, were less abundant in the Parkinson’s groups compared to the groups without Parkinson’s.
Nathan said this difference in butyrate-producing bacteria is relevant because of the health promoting functions of butyrate, including maintaining the health of our intestinal walls and providing anti-inflammatory actions within the immune system.
What role might diet play in this pathway?
But what impact might our dietary choices have on the different types of bacteria in our gut and the compounds that they produce?
Michael J Fox’s History With Parkinson’s Disease Explained
Ask any child of the ’80s about Michael J. Fox, and they’ll probably bring up Alex P. Keaton and Marty McFly . Even though Marty was a high school student, Fox was 28 years old when “Back to the Future Part III” hit theaters in 1990. A year later, he was diagnosed with a form of Parkinson’s disease, according to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research’s website.
For the next 30 years, Fox came to terms with the disease, moving from hiding it and diving full force into his work to managing it openly by starting a foundation to search for a cure, according to the foundation’s site. His optimism was tested over the years and unlike Marty McFly, Fox doesn’t have a flying DeLorean that allows him to rewrite the past to create his ideal future. While the actor might see his future differently than he once did, he surely hasn’t given up on it. Here’s a look at his history with Parkinson’s disease.
Va Disability Compensation For Veterans With Parkinsons
What are Veterans Affairs disability compensation benefits?
VA disability compensation benefits are monthly, tax-free, benefits that are paid to U.S. military veterans with disabilities that are connected to their active duty military service. These benefits are administered and paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs .
Why Should Coffee Reduce The Risk Of Parkinson’sdisease
Although the new research is suggestive of a linkbetween caffeine and Parkinson’s disease, it is too early to saythat caffeine will prevent Parkinson’s disease. Perhaps the brains ofpeople who like and dislike coffee are different. It may be that thisdifference results in the different incidence of Parkinson’s disease andin the consumption of coffee. Also, the study included older,Japanese-American men. It is unknown if the caffeine/Parkinson diseaserelationship holds for other ethnic groups, women and younger people. Aswith many preliminary studies, this research requires further experimentsto establish a causal link between caffeine and reduced incidence ofParkinson’s disease.
How much caffeine do you consume each day? Use this worksheetto keep track of the products with caffeine that you consume. Write downthe name of the product, the amount you consume of each product , the amount ofcaffeine in each product and the time that you consumed the product. Useseparate worksheets if you want to track your caffeine consumption ondifferent days.
A Discussion About Navigating Parkinsons And Parenting
About ten percent of people with Parkinson’s disease are diagnosed before the age of 50, a subset of PD known as Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease , sometimes referred to as Early Onset Parkinson’s Disease. People with YOPD have a number of unique concerns that people who are diagnosed later in life might not have including the challenges of dating, raising young families, and employment.
Navigating PD is challenging enough but add parenting into the mix and it’s a lot to tackle, both emotionally and physically. For today’s blog, I sat down with four people with PD — Harry, Rick, Bob and Cathy, as well as and Bob’s care partner, Charles to discuss the challenges of parenting with PD.
In some cases, the people with PD had their children after their diagnosis. In other cases, the children ranged from ages 1 to 14 when their parent was diagnosed.
Why Genetic Testing For Parkinsons Disease Is Complex:
- There are many genes that are associated with the development of PD. This list continues to grow as more genes are discovered. Testing of only some of these genes is available in commercial labs.
- The majority of people with PD, even those with a family history of PD, do not harbor one of these identified abnormal genes. The genetic contribution to PD in these people is yet to be discovered.
- For a particular gene there may be a number of different mutations associated with disease, some of which are more common than others. Commercial testing may identify only the most common of the mutations, and therefore not capture everyone who carries a disease-causing mutation.
- Conversely, only particular mutations in a gene may be associated with disease. Commercial testing may identify changes in a gene that may not have clinical consequences. This can be confusing for patients who even after genetic testing may not know whether they harbor a disease-causing mutation.
- Different mutations can be enriched in different ethnic populations. For example, Ashkenazi Jews and North African Berbers have an increased risk of carrying Leucine rich repeat kinase 2 mutations. Glucocerebrosidase mutation frequency also varies greatly with ethnicity and is also increased among Ashkenazi Jews.
In addition to the above, it is important to realize that not all genes associated with PD contribute to disease in the same way:
One Mans Trash Is Another Mans Breakthrough Medication
Sesame seed oil is very popular for its nutty aroma and high burn-point. Manufacturers make it by extracting fatty oils from sesame seeds and throwing out the empty shells as waste. However, the Japanese team finds sesaminol levels are actually abundant in these wasted shells.
In experiments on lab cells, researchers uncovered that sesaminol protects against neuronal damage by promoting the movement of Nrf2, a protein which responds to oxidative stress. Sesaminol also reduced the production of intracellular ROS.
Through research on mice with Parkinson’s, the team found that the disease also impacts the production of dopamine. This neurotransmitter, called the “feel good” chemical, plays a major role in feelings of pleasure, mood, motor function, and decision making.
After feeding mice a diet containing sesaminol for 36 days, mice saw their dopamine levels increase. The mice also experienced significant improvements in motor performance and intestinal motor function during lab tests.
Kojima-Yuasa and her team say they’re ready to take their work into the clinical trial phase. They hope to prove the first-ever medication for Parkinson’s disease will come from anaturally occurring and easily obtainable food source.
The study appears in the journal Heliyon.
Difference Between Parkinsons Disease And Parkinsonism
Parkinsonism is an umbrella term used to describe a group of movement disorders that share similar symptoms.
The signs of parkinsonism include:
- Resting tremors
- Difficulty with balancing and walking
Parkinsonism can also cause people to perform uncontrolled, repetitive movements, known as “tics.”
PD is the most common type of parkinsonism, but there are other types that have more specific causes, such as:
- Drug-induced parkinsonism. This occurs when a person takes a medication that lowers dopamine levels. Symptoms usually disappear once the medicine is stopped.
- Vascular parkinsonism. Stroke can cause certain parts of the brain that control movement to die, leading to Parkinson-like symptoms.
- Post-traumatic parkinsonism. Brain damage to the cerebellum or basal ganglia can also cause movement disorders that look a lot like Parkinson’s Disease.
Whether you have PD or some other form of parkinsonism, treatment will mostly be identical.
Genetic Role Not Entirely Known In Affected Families
Genetics very likely plays a role in all types of Parkinson’s disease. However, while having a specific combination of genetics may increase your risk of the disease, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get it.
Around 15 to 25 percent of people living with Parkinson’s have a family history of the condition, either an immediate or second-degree relation. Having one or more of these relatives will place you at slightly higher risk for Parkinson’s, but it’s still no guarantee you’ll develop the disorder.
Conversely, if you have Parkinson’s, it shouldn’t suggest that any of your kids or grandkids will get the disease either. It merely indicates that their risk is slightly above those without a family history.
In the end, most cases of Parkinson’s don’t have any known cause . While there are forms that seem to run in families, these account for a small percentage of cases — roughly five to 10 percent, all told.
Treatment Options For Early Onset Parkinsons Disease
Parkinson’s treatment aims to slow the disease’s progression. Medication treatment options may include the following:
- Levodopa is a chemical that’s converted to dopamine in the brain. People with early onset Parkinson’s may experience more negative side effects, such as involuntary movements.
- MAO-B inhibitors can help reduce the breakdown of dopamine in the brain.
- Catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitors can help extend Levodopa’s effects on the brain.
- Anticholinergics can help reduce tremors.
- Amantadine may be used to improve muscle control and relieve stiffness.
How To Cope With The Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
The only predictable thing about this disease is that it is unpredictable.— Richard, diagnosed at 36
Tremors are the first sign noted in about half of all people with Parkinson’s disease. But maybe, like 15 percent of people with the illness, you have never experienced this symptom. That is because Parkinson’s disease affects everyone somewhat differently.
As you will discover, your symptoms will continue to change, often from day to day, and throughout the course of your life. But even though there is no cure for Parkinson’s, the sooner you can take steps to manage symptoms when they arise, the better chance you will have at maintaining a good quality of life.That is why the first step in coping with the changes that accompany a Parkinson’s diagnosis is to simply increase awareness, to notice new symptoms as well as how your body responds to certain activities, stresses and therapies. A helpful way to do this is by logging your symptom patterns in a daily journal. It is just a matter of jotting down small changes you notice in your physical and emotional health each day. That way you can discuss these issues promptly with your doctor and receive treatment.
Tips For Caring For Someone With Parkinsons Disease
Caring for a loved one with early onset Parkinson’s can be difficult. If you’re a caregiver for someone with this condition, it’s important that you remember your own emotional and physical health.
Not only are you dealing with a difficult diagnosis, you’re also managing an increased number of responsibilities. Burnout is common in caregivers, so make sure you’re checking in with your own needs.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation Center for Parkinson’s Research recommends these tips for caregivers:
Who Should Consider A Genetic Test For Parkinsons
There are two groups of people who might consider getting genetic testing and we will discuss each group separately.
Genetic testing for PD is a common request and a number of commercial labs perform panels of genetic testing for PD. You may ask: “How can I test myself for Parksinon’s?” Whether you’re considering getting a genetic test through your doctor, or performing one at home, it’s important to note that at-home test don’t map the entire gene for mutations. Genetic testing through your doctor will test for GBA, PARK7, SNCA, LRRK2, parkin and PINK1.
Both groups are faced with two questions: Should I get genetic testing? And if so, what should I do with the results? Before we address these two questions, we need to learn more about the complexity of genetic testing in PD.
Michael J Fox Broke His Arm And Lost His Optimism
It was the summer of 2018 and the year had already been rough for Michael J. Fox. Now, in addition to managing a progressive disease, he was recovering from spinal surgery and starving for a little time to himself, according to the CBC. But no sooner did he get his wish when he slipped on a tile in his kitchen and fell on his arm, shattering it. Alone and unable to get help, Fox remembered at that moment, he was tired of his “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade” attitude about his condition. “That was the point where I went ‘I’m out of the freakin’ lemonade business,'” he told the CBC. “‘I can’t put a shiny face on this. This sucks, and who am I to tell people to be optimistic?'”
Fractures are not uncommon among people with Parkinson’s. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, the disease can cause changes to a person’s skeleton, including lower bone density. In fact, if a person with Parkinson’s does less walking and other exercises in which their skeleton needs to support their weight, they run the risk of weaker bones, increasing their chances of bone fractures if they fall. In Fox’s case, as he detailed to the CBC. his arm was so badly broken that it needed to be rebuilt. And what about his optimism? That too would need some rebuilding.
There’s No Time Like The Future For Michael J Fox
Titled “No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality,” Michael J. Fox’s 2020 memoir describes how Fox came to understand and embrace his new form of reality-based and gratitude-driven optimism . Although Fox is unable to physically write with a keyboard or a pen, he dictated this fourth memoir through as assistant. “He has increasing difficulty in forming words, and occasionally needs a wheelchair,” The Guardian noted. But that didn’t stop him from engaging in an almost two-hour interview, nearly skipping lunch to keep the conversation going.
Although Fox has stepped away from acting, he’s still involved in his foundation. Its Deputy CEO, Sohini Chowdhury, sees possibly big advances in Parkinson’s treatments happening in the next few years. “It’s important to remember that a cure can mean different things to different people,” she told the European Parkinson’s Disease Association. “If you’re able to improve the symptom management of the disease to an extent where having the disease has very little impact on your day-to-day life, that could be considered a cure.”
Fox himself told The New York Times that better treatments for managing Parkinson’s symptoms can make a big different in people’s lives. “Now, if we can prophylactically keep Parkinson’s symptoms from developing in a person, is that a cure? No. Would I take it? Yes.”
Va Disability Compensation And Parkinsons Disease
Presumptive Service Connection for Parkinson’s
Creating a presumption is VA’s way of making an exception to the usual requirements for service connection. Often used for toxic exposures that affected large groups of veterans, VA will automatically presume that veterans in a certain place during a certain time period were exposed to toxins . Presumptive conditions are diseases or disabilities that VA automatically assumes are related to the acknowledged exposure, meaning the veteran does not have to provide a medical “nexus,” or link, between the toxic exposure and the resulting condition .
Parkinson’s disease is currently listed as a presumptive condition for veterans who served:
- in Vietnam for any length of time between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, or
- in the Korean Demilitarized Zone for any length of time between April 1, 1968, and August 31, 1971, or
- at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between the August 1953 and December 1987.
If you served in one of these locations during the specified time period, you need only show VA documentation of where you served and that you have a current diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease to prove your claim.
Service Connection for Parkinson’s without a Presumption
Exposure to burn pits: Parkinson’s can also present in veterans who were exposed to burn pits in the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations after September 11, 2001.