Parkinsons Disease Biomarkers Program
The NINDSParkinson’s Disease Biomarkers Program brings together various stakeholders to create a resource of longitudinal biofluid samples from PD patients and controls and their associated clinical assessment data for biomarker discovery research. Neuroimaging and genomic data are also available for some of the samples. All samples are stored at the NINDS Human Genetics Repository at Coriell Institute and can be requested through the PDBP Data Management Resource.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke , part of the National Institutes of Health , is a major funder of Parkinsonâs disease research in the US. In 2012, the NINDS funded approximately $98 million out of a total of $154 million in NIH-supported PD research. The NINDS supports basic, translational, and clinical PD research programs through a variety of mechanisms, including the Morris K. Udall Centers of Excellence for Parkinsonâs Disease Research and the Parkinson’s Disease Biomarkers Program . NINDS has just completed a major planning effort to determine priorities for future Parkinsonâs disease research.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation aims to develop a cure for Parkinson’s disease. As the largest private foundation for Parkinson’s disease in the US, the Michael J. Fox Foundation has spent 325 million dollars on research. In 2010, the Fox foundation launched the first large-scale clinical study on evolution biomarkers of the disease with a cost of 40 million dollars in 5 years.
If You Have Parkinson’s Disease
If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, call your doctor if:
- You notice any significant change in your symptoms, such as severe episodes of freezingâa sudden loss of mobilityâwhich may affect walking.
- Your response to your medicine changes.
- Any other symptoms occur, such as constipation, sexual problems, or incontinence.
- You have symptoms of depression, such as feeling sad or hopeless and losing interest in daily activities.
- You or your family notice that you have problems with memory and thinking ability.
How Do I Prevent Falls From Common Hazards
- Floors: Remove all loose wires, cords, and throw rugs. Minimize clutter. Make sure rugs are anchored and smooth. Keep furniture in its usual place.
- Bathroom: Install grab bars and non-skid tape in the tub or shower. Use non-skid bath mats on the floor or install wall-to-wall carpeting.
- Lighting: Make sure halls, stairways, and entrances are well-lit. Install a night light in your bathroom or hallway and staircase. Turn lights on if you get up in the middle of the night. Make sure lamps or light switches are within reach of the bed if you have to get up during the night.
- Kitchen: Install non-skid rubber mats near the sink and stove. Clean spills immediately.
- Stairs: Make sure treads, rails, and rugs are secure. Install a rail on both sides of the stairs. If stairs are a threat, it might be helpful to arrange most of your activities on the lower level to reduce the number of times you must climb the stairs.
- Entrances and doorways: Install metal handles on the walls adjacent to the doorknobs of all doors to make it more secure as you travel through the doorway.
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What Are The Symptoms Present To Confirm Parkinsons Disease
In order to medically diagnose Parkinsons disease, a minimum of two to four symptoms must be present. The four main symptoms include-
- Acute slowness of movement called Bradykinesia.
- Stiffness or rigidity of the arms, legs and trunk.
- Problems with maintaining body balance and posture which result in falls called postural instability.
What Is The Outlook For Persons With Parkinsons Disease
Although there is no cure or absolute evidence of ways to prevent Parkinsons disease, scientists are working hard to learn more about the disease and find innovative ways to better manage it, prevent it from progressing and ultimately curing it.
Currently, you and your healthcare teams efforts are focused on medical management of your symptoms along with general health and lifestyle improvement recommendations . By identifying individual symptoms and adjusting the course of action based on changes in symptoms, most people with Parkinsons disease can live fulfilling lives.
The future is hopeful. Some of the research underway includes:
- Using stem cells to produce new neurons, which would produce dopamine.
- Producing a dopamine-producing enzyme that is delivered to a gene in the brain that controls movement.
- Using a naturally occurring human protein glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor, GDNF to protect dopamine-releasing nerve cells.
Many other investigations are underway too. Much has been learned, much progress has been made and additional discoveries are likely to come.
How To Get Palliative Care
If you or a loved one is facing Parkinsons disease, ask your doctor for a referral to palliative carethe earlier the better.
Although living with Parkinsons disease is difficult, your burden may be easier when palliative care is involved. You can receive palliative care in the hospital, at an outpatient clinic and sometimes at home.
Be informed about your condition, its treatment and what you can expect. And if you have received a Parkinsons diagnosis, or if the burden of illness is growing, dont hesitate to ask for a palliative care referral to help you make sense of the situation. With the support of palliative care, you can help ensure that you achieve and sustain the highest quality of life possible.
What Are The Symptoms
The four main symptoms of Parkinson’s are:
- Tremor, which means shaking or trembling. Tremor may affect your hands, arms, or legs.
- Stiff muscles.
- Slow movement.
- Problems with balance or walking.
Tremor may be the first symptom you notice. It’s one of the most common signs of the disease, although not everyone has it.
More importantly, not everyone with a tremor has Parkinson’s disease.
Tremor often starts in just one arm or leg or on only one side of the body. It may be worse when you are awake but not moving the affected arm or leg. It may get better when you move the limb or you are asleep.
In time, Parkinson’s affects muscles all through your body, so it can lead to problems like trouble swallowing or constipation.
In the later stages of the disease, a person with Parkinson’s may have a fixed or blank expression, trouble speaking, and other problems. Some people also lose mental skills .
People usually start to have symptoms between the ages of 50 and 60. But sometimes symptoms start earlier.
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How Is Parkinson’s Disease Treated
If a doctor thinks a person has Parkinson’s disease, there’s reason for hope. Medicine can be used to eliminate or improve the symptoms, like the body tremors. And some experts think that a cure may be found soon.
For now, a medicine called levodopa is often given to people who have Parkinson’s disease. Called “L-dopa,” this medicine increases the amount of dopamine in the body and has been shown to improve a person’s ability to walk and move around. Other drugs also help decrease and manage the symptoms by affecting dopamine levels. In some cases, surgery may be needed to treat it. The person would get anesthesia, a special kind of medicine to prevent pain during the operation.
The Parkinsons Disease Doesnt Stand A Chance
Because this is an illness that can be tackled on so many fronts doing what I did meant my overall health actually got better over time.
The three steps I described provide health benefits that overwhelm the downside of the disease.
You deteriorate 1 part because of the illness but improve 3 parts because of these new, powerful daily habits.
More than anything, what I learned is that Parkinsons is not the terrifying, life-destroying diagnosis that so many of us believe it to be.
I was able to choose what this illness did to me. And I chose for it to do nothing to me.
Parkinson’s Disease Clinical Research
Parkinson’s disease clinical research is any study intended to help answer questions about etiology, diagnostic approaches or new treatments by studying their effects on human subjects. Clinical trials are designed and conducted by scientists and medical experts, who invite participants to undergo testing new vaccines, therapies, or treatments.
Only a small fraction of patients with Parkinson’s disease participate in clinical research and specially in clinical trials. When clinical trials lack participation, it causes a significant delay in the development of new drugs and treatments.
Your Home And Lifestyle
- Modify your activities and your home. For example, simplify your daily activities, and change the location of furniture so that you can hold on to something as you move around the house.
- Eat healthy foods, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, cereals, legumes, poultry, fish, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products.
- Exercise and do physiotherapy. They have benefits in both early and advanced stages of the disease.
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What Else Do We Know
As scientists try to learn what’s at the root of Parkinson’s, they’re looking far and wide to pick up clues where they can.
They’ve found that people with Parkinson’s tend to have something called Lewy bodies in their brain. These are unusual clumps of a protein called alpha-synuclein. The protein itself is normal, but the clumps are not. And they’re found in parts of the brain that affect sleep and sense of smell, which could explain some symptoms of Parkinson’s not related to movement.
Your gut may also have a part in it, as some of its cells make dopamine, too. Some doctors think that this might be where the earliest signs of Parkinson’s show up, but that idea needs more research.
Natural Treatment For Parkinsons #1 Cannabis/medicalmarijuana:
Cannabis, aka medical marijuana, is an incredibletreatment for Parkinsons disease. You can have a Parkinsons patient shakingviolently and uncontrollably, and yet within 30-40 minutes of self-administering with some cannabis, their symptoms will almost completely disappear. Watch this short 2minute video from Parkinsons sufferer, Ian Frizell, who shows you what he waslike before self-medicating with cannabis and then again after. The change is truly astonishing!
Taylor French is another Parkinsons patient thatundergoes a remarkable transformation once he ingests what he calls nutritional vegetable extract . This guy has an advanced form ofParkinsons and is normally confined to a wheelchair with limited use of hisbody due to stiff and rigid muscles . But after ingestingsome cannabis hes able to walk, and incredibly, in his video he even getsinto his car and drives off down the road!
You can view it here
Elyse Del Francia also tells the story of her Parkinsonssuffering husband, and the time she decided to smother his morning pancakes withsome canabutter. She said
Within45 minutes of eating a pancake with marijuana on it, he stopped shaking. Thatwas my lightbulb moment. Thats when I knew that I was onto something thatwould relieve his pain and suffering, because its horrible, horrible, to haveParkinsons Disease and not have any relief. I feel that this is something thathelps so many people in so many ways with pain and suffering. 5
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What Causes Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease occurs when nerve cells, or neurons, in an area of the brain that controls movement become impaired and/or die. Normally, these neurons produce an important brain chemical known as dopamine. When the neurons die or become impaired, they produce less dopamine, which causes the movement problems of Parkinson’s. Scientists still do not know what causes cells that produce dopamine to die.
People with Parkinson’s also lose the nerve endings that produce norepinephrine, the main chemical messenger of the sympathetic nervous system, which controls many functions of the body, such as heart rate and blood pressure. The loss of norepinephrine might help explain some of the non-movement features of Parkinson’s, such as fatigue, irregular blood pressure, decreased movement of food through the digestive tract, and sudden drop in blood pressure when a person stands up from a sitting or lying-down position.
Many brain cells of people with Parkinson’s contain Lewy bodies, unusual clumps of the protein alpha-synuclein. Scientists are trying to better understand the normal and abnormal functions of alpha-synuclein and its relationship to genetic mutations that impact Parkinsons disease and Lewy body dementia.
Stages Of Parkinsons Disease
Neurologists usually describe the progression of Parkinsons symptoms in stages, using the system known as the Hoehn and Yahr scale. These stages are:
- Stage I Symptoms are seen on one side of the body only.
- Stage II Symptoms are seen on both sides of the body. Theres no impairment of balance.
- Stage III Balance impairment has begun. In this mild- to moderate stage of the disease, the person is still physically independent.
- Stage IV This stage is marked by severe disability, but the person is still able to walk or stand unassisted.
- Stage V The person is wheelchair-bound or bedridden unless assisted.
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Environmental Factors And Exposures
Exposure to pesticides and a history of head injury have each been linked with PD, but the risks are modest. Never having smoked cigarettes, and never drinking caffeinated beverages, are also associated with small increases in risk of developing PD.
Low concentrations of urate in the blood is associated with an increased risk of PD.
Different medical drugs have been implicated in cases of parkinsonism. Drug-induced parkinsonism is normally reversible by stopping the offending agent. Drugs include:
No One Definitive Cause Of Parkinsons
There are no biomarkers or objective screening tests that indicate one has Parkinsons. That said, medical experts have shown that a constellation of factors are linked to it.
Parkinsons causes are likely a blend of genetics and environmental or other unknown factors. About 10 to 20 percent of Parkinsons disease cases are linked to a genetic cause, says Ted Dawson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Institute for Cell Engineering at Johns Hopkins. The types are either autosomal dominant or autosomal recessive .
But that leaves the majority of Parkinsons cases as idiopathic, which means unknown. We think its probably a combination of environmental exposure to toxins or pesticides and your genetic makeup, says Dawson.
Age. The biggest risk factor for developing Parkinsons is advancing age. The average age of onset is 60.
Gender. Men are more likely to develop Parkinsons disease than women.
Genetics. Individuals with a parent or sibling who is affected have approximately two times the chance of developing Parkinsons. Theres been an enormous amount of new information about genetics and new genes identified over the past 10 or 15 years that have opened up a greater understanding of the disease, says Dawson.
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Surgery For People With Parkinsons Disease
Deep brain stimulation surgery is an option to treat Parkinsons disease symptoms, but it is not suitable for everyone. There are strict criteria and guidelines on who can be a candidate for surgery, and this is something that only your doctor and you can decide. Surgery may be considered early or late in the progression of Parkinsons. When performing deep-brain stimulation surgery, the surgeon places an electrode in the part of the brain most effected by Parkinsons disease. Electrical impulses are introduced to the brain, which has the effect of normalising the brains electrical activity reducing the symptoms of Parkinsons disease. The electrical impulse is introduced using a pacemaker-like device called a stimulator. Thalamotomy and pallidotomy are operations where the surgeon makes an incision on part of the brain. These surgeries aim to alleviate some forms of tremor or unusual movement, but they are rarely performed now.
Home Remedyfor Parkinsons #8 Green Tea:
Green tea contains theanine, a nutrient that increasesdopamine levels in the brain, and polyphenol antioxidants that help fight free radicals. Three separate studies all found that regularlydrinking tea can either delay or prevent the development of PD. A retrospectivestudy also found that drinking three or more cups of tea a day can delay the onsetof motor symptoms. And a 2007 study found that green tea polyphenols protect braincells and dopamine neurons, and this positive effect increases with the moregreen tea consumed. 10
The minimum amount that should be drank every day is 3cups, with 6-9 cups a day being the ideal.Matcha green tea is the most potent and beneficial so try and purchase this ifyou can. A strong cup of coffee first thing in the morning is thought tobe effective for reducing the symptoms of Parkinsons disease as well, however,we recommend you stick with green tea, or even a strong cup of black tea ifyou can for the theanine and EGCGs.
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Testing For Parkinsons Disease
There is no lab or imaging test that is recommended or definitive for Parkinsons disease. However, in 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an imaging scan called the DaTscan. This technique allows doctors to see detailed pictures of the brains dopamine system.
A DaTscan involves an injection of a small amount of a radioactive drug and a machine called a single-photon emission computed tomography scanner, similar to an MRI.
The drug binds to dopamine transmitters in the brain, showing where in the brain dopaminergic neurons are.
The results of a DaTscan cant show that you have Parkinsons, but they can help your doctor confirm a diagnosis or rule out a Parkinsons mimic.
Home Remedyfor Parkinsons #5 Vitamin D & Vitamin E:
Inflammation and low immunity are two powerful factorsthat contribute to the development and worsening of Parkinsons disease. Bothvitamin D and vitamin E are strong anti-inflammatories and immune boosters. VitaminD & E also protect our brain cells and can even help damaged neurons regenerate. A deficiency of these key vitamins has also been linked to brain difficultiessuch as poor memory and recall attainability.
In regards to PD, a study of 157 Parkinsons patientsfound that the vast majority of them had severe to chronic vitamin Ddeficiencies. The findings, published in the Archives of Neurology in March of 2011, revealed a strong linkbetween inadequate levels of vitamin D and the onset of early Parkinson’sdisease.4
Back in 2002, another study was published in the Archives of Neurology which tracked themental decline of 3,000 men and women diagnosed with Parkinsons disease over a period of 7 years. The study found the participants whose supplemental vitamin E intakewas higher experienced a 36% reduction in theseverity of their symptoms compared to the rest of the group. Another study, whichappeared in the Lancet Neurology onlinemagazine in 2005, showed that vitamin E may actually prevent Parkinsonsdisease from developing in the first place! 8
Where to Get Your Vitamin D and Vitamin E From?
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