Important Facts About Parkinsons Disease
According to the not-for-profit organization, Mayo Clinic, Parkinsons disease is a progressive nervous system disorder affecting movements. Its symptoms are starting gradually, and sometimes, begins with a barely noticeable shaking of one hand. Tremors for this disease are typical. However, the disorder usually causes stiffness too or slowing down in terms of movement.
During the early phases of Parkinsons, a persons face may display little expression . His arms may not move or swing when he walks. Even the speech gets affected as it becomes slurred or soft. PD symptoms worsen as the condition progresses or develops over time.
In addition, even though it is incurable, there might be remarkable improvements with the symptoms due to medications. On some occasions, the doctor may recommend surgery to regulate some regions of the brain, not to mention, improve the symptoms.
Louie Louie: A Portrait In Parkinsons
This film is a powerful look at one familys story of their fathers courageous 33-year battle with Parkinsons disease. Personalized with old home movies, and family photos, the film chronicles both the fathers determination to not give in to his debilitating illness, and the familys endeavors to provide the best care for him. The film skillfully captures the person behind the illnesswe see Louies spirited attitude triumph over the daily challenges of Parkinsons as he contends with hallucinations, falls, hand tremors, and a gradual loss of body control. The family caregiving dynamic is also explored as we see the family members struggle with their new roles as adult caregivers to their father while they balance careers and families of their own. A must-see for caregivers and family members of anyone with a chronic illness.
Boys Of Summer By Robert Cochrane
US filmmaker Robert Cochrane had discussed a trip to all the baseball parks in America with his father in the 1990s. But, he said, it wasnt until his dads Parkinsons disease diagnosis in 2001 that they started planning the project seriously.
It was a gut punch and felt very scary, especially because I knew so little about it, says Robert, remembering the moment he found out about the diagnosis. Inspired by the sports fantasy drama Field of Dreams, he decided to explore their relationship through a documentary film, Boys of Summer, which chronicled their journey.
Our intention for Boys of Summer was to spend a lot of time together, see a lot of the country, all the Major League Baseball parks and meet as many people with or affiliated with Parkinsons as possible to better understand what our journey with the condition might be like, he explained. Parkinsons diagnosis, with all its unknowns, added the pressure to say: this is why we need to do this now.
Although the film was initially planned as a one-off documentary, the audience response encouraged Robert to follow up the feature with Second Base and Short Stop. Over that time, he said, conversations within Parkinsons community have shifted.
Read our interview with Robert Cochrane.
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Catherine Zeta Jones Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterized by mood fluctuations between extreme highs and lows . Catherine Zeta Jones suffers from this illness.This is a disorder that affects millions of people and I am one of them. If my revelation of having bipolar II has encouraged one person to seek help, then it is worth it. There is no need to suffer silently and there is no shame in seeking help, said the actress in a statement.
Popular Hollywood Actor Michael J Fox Has Revealed That His Short Term Memory Is Shot As A Result Of His Parkinsons Disease Read More To Know
Michael J Fox is one of the most celebrated stars of the 1980s and 1990s. Over the years, he has given several memorable characters to the viewers. The popular actor recently opened up about his Parkinsons disease and how it is affecting his ability to act. Here is what Michael J Fox had to say about his Parkinsons disease.
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Working With The Enigmatic Lars Von Trier
Actors whove worked with Lars von Trier Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard, Willem Dafoe, Uma Thurman share their observations about a director whose films seem to give form to his state of mind.
Von Triers progressive disease, is caused by the degeneration of nerve cells and can lead to unintended or uncontrollable movements, such as shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination, according to the National Institute of Health. Actor Michael J. Fox, boxer Muhammad Ali and singer Linda Ronstadt are among other high-profile people diagnosed with Parkinsons.
The Danish filmmaker is also known for directing Antichrist, Dogville and the musical Dancer in the Dark , which earned von Trier the Palme dOr prize at the Cannes Film Festival. He was famously banned from the French Riviera-set festival for seven years after he said during a 2011 press conference for Melancholia that he sympathized with Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.
Robin Williams Lewy Body Dementia
Robin Williams suicide in 2014 shocked the world and left millions of fans of all ages saddened by the news. Though previously diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease, at that time, few knew that he was suffering with an extreme case of Lewy Body Dementia.
Its name comes from protein deposits called Lewy bodies that develop in nerve cells in the the regions of the brain that have to do with thinking, memory and motor control. Although Robins was a severe case, most people with Lewy body have progressive decline in mental abilities.
Symptoms include visual hallucinations, movement disorders, poor regulation of body funcions , cognitive problems, difficulty in sleeping, problems with attention, despression and loss of motivation.
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Linda Ronstadt: Parkinsons Took Her Voice But Not Her Spirit
Known for her rich soprano vocals as the lead singer of the 1960s band the Stone Poneys, Linda Ronstadt opened up about her Parkinsons disease diagnosis to AARP The Magazine in 2013. After two very bad tick bites in the 1980s, Ronstadt says her health never fully recovered but she didnt visit a neurologist until she was no longer able to sing.
I didnt know why I couldnt sing all I knew was that it was muscular or mechanical. Then when I was diagnosed with Parkinsons, I was finally given the reason. I now understand that no one can sing with Parkinsons disease. No matter how hard you try. And in my case, I cant sing a note, she told AARP.
Maurice White: A Performer With Parkinsons
One of the founding members of the band Earth, Wind & Fire, Maurice White noted the first symptoms of Parkinsons disease in the 1980s while the bands popularity was going strong. Although he was diagnosed in 1992 at age 50, he kept quiet about his disease for eight years. In a 2000 interview with Rolling Stone, he discussed his diagnosis, saying, I traveled with the band for five years with Parkinsons. I was treating it with medication then, and I still have it under control. Its not taking anything away from me.
White died in 2016 at age 74.
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Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons has four main symptoms:
- Tremor in hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head
- Muscle stiffness, where muscle remains contracted for a long time
- Slowness of movement
- Impaired balance and coordination, sometimes leading to falls
Other symptoms may include:
The symptoms of Parkinsons and the rate of progression differ among individuals. Early symptoms of this disease are subtle and occur gradually. For example, people may feel mild tremors or have difficulty getting out of a chair. They may notice that they speak too softly, or that their handwriting is slow and looks cramped or small. Friends or family members may be the first to notice changes in someone with early Parkinsons. They may see that the persons face lacks expression and animation, or that the person does not move an arm or leg normally.
People with Parkinson’s disease often develop a parkinsonian gait that includes a tendency to lean forward take small, quick steps and reduce swinging their arms. They also may have trouble initiating or continuing movement.
Symptoms often begin on one side of the body or even in one limb on one side of the body. As the disease progresses, it eventually affects both sides. However, the symptoms may still be more severe on one side than on the other.
Support For People Living With Parkinsons Disease
While the progression of Parkinsons is usually slow, eventually a persons daily routines may be affected. Activities such as working, taking care of a home, and participating in social activities with friends may become challenging. Experiencing these changes can be difficult, but support groups can help people cope. These groups can provide information, advice, and connections to resources for those living with Parkinsons disease, their families, and caregivers. The organizations listed below can help people find local support groups and other resources in their communities.
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Diagnosis Of Parkinsons Disease
There are currently no blood or laboratory tests to diagnose non-genetic cases of Parkinsons. Doctors usually diagnose the disease by taking a persons medical history and performing a neurological examination. If symptoms improve after starting to take medication, its another indicator that the person has Parkinsons.
A number of disorders can cause symptoms similar to those of Parkinsons disease. People with Parkinsons-like symptoms that result from other causes, such as multiple system atrophy and dementia with Lewy bodies, are sometimes said to have parkinsonism. While these disorders initially may be misdiagnosed as Parkinsons, certain medical tests, as well as response to drug treatment, may help to better evaluate the cause. Many other diseases have similar features but require different treatments, so it is important to get an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible.
Michael J Fox: Parkinsons Champion For A Cure
Michael J. Fox is among the most well-known people living with Parkinsons disease. Many remember him as the fresh-faced young star of the 1980s TV comedy hit Family Ties and the popular Back to the Future movies. Though most people with Parkinsons are diagnosed between ages 40 and 60, Fox was diagnosed at age 30 but his diagnosis didnt slow him down.
He shared his young-onset Parkinsons disease diagnosis with the world in 1998 and, two years later, founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research. Fox is committed to helping the foundation build Parkinsons disease awareness and raise funds for research into prevention, treatment, and a cure. In addition to his advocacy work, hes still a working actor some more recent roles have included characters with Parkinsons in the TV shows The Good Wife and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
As long as I play a guy with Parkinsons, I can do anything, he joked in a 2013 AARP interview.
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Michael J Fox’s History With Alcohol
As is the case for many, the diagnosis at 29 was very hard for Fox to handle and he ended up turning to alcohol.
“In the end, I understood that I could get rid of that, but not Parkinson’s disease,” he said.
That is why another of his foundation’s tasks is to try to normalize the disease among the population and teach them how to live with it and with the different types of treatment that exist.
He Got Four Doctors Opinions Before Accepting His Fate
When he shared the news with Pollan, she cried out of fear. Neither of us quite understood. We hugged each other and assured ourselves that wed be able to deal with it, Pollan told People.
It just didnt seem right. Fox was young and in good shape and doctors agreed that he must have been misdiagnosed. But after four doctors had the same initial reaction followed by the same eventual diagnosis, there was no escaping. He searched for an explanation. What mistake did he make in his life that caused this?
After ruling out everything from childhood hockey accidents to film stunts, he realized the truth. Theres just that thing fate, he explained to People. Youre the guy it touches.
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Finding The Win In Parkinsons Disease
Brett concludes his film with a tone of acceptance, the narration backdropped by a shot of his hand as he walks down a beach. I was asked recently if I thought Parkinsons disease had ruined my life, he says, and honestly, Ive never thought about it in those terms. Ive always just tried to get on with it.
But it hasnt ruined my life. I guess its just changed it a bit. But I still feel like the same person. And for now, Ill take that as a win.
The response that Hand has received, Brett says, has been genuinely overwhelming.
The outpouring of love and support from colleagues and friends is incredible. But the most overwhelming thing is hearing from people saying that the film is helping them process their condition, which is astonishing. I never really expected that. One person responded on Twitter saying that they hadnt spoken to their family about their condition yet, and they were going to use the film to help them break the news. That was incredibly humbling.
What Ive learned from Hand is that approaching a subject matter like this, which is so personal, honestly and matter-of-factly enables you to open up lots of interesting conversations.
For more information about Parkinsons disease symptoms, please visit Parkinsons Europe website.
Parkinsons And Parkour: Telling My Story Through Stage Screen And Free
Actress Sue Wylie talks about how a chance meet with a student free-runner led to her performing in both a play and short-film about her life with Parkinsons.
I was diagnosed with Parkinsons in 2011 when I had just turned 50. I suddenly started to notice I was getting very tired, but I was teaching at the time and just thought, dont most teachers get tired? I also lost my sense of smell, which I thought was unusual but I just put down to hayfever. Then I noticed my left hand started seizing up.
When I was diagnosed I really didnt feel comfortable talking about having Parkinsons. In fact, I think I was in denial for a while. But I felt I needed to challenge myself. I had been an actress for 20 years and kept thinking, I need to write about this. But I didnt want to do something that was overly earnest or purely educational.
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He Told Tv Execs About His Parkinsons Before Spin City
After the successful 1995 film The American President, he decided it was time to step away from films and stay in one place with a TV show. And thats when the sitcom Spin City about the New York City mayors office came along.
Before stepping into the lead role as Mike Flaherty, he revealed his diagnosis to the networks then-president Robert Iger and the production company DreamWorks head Jeffrey Katzenberg. I said it could get very bad or not get bad. They said, Lets go! Fox recalled to People.
The surgery helped. He returned to the show that falls, but by the end of 1998, he was ready to speak even more publicly and revealed his diagnosis on the cover of the December 7, 1998 issue of People.
Michael Richard Clifford: Parkinsons In Space
Michael Richard Rich Clifford began his career as a NASA astronaut in 1990. Hes since made three space flights, accumulating 665 hours orbiting Earth. Though diagnosed with Parkinsons disease in 1994, he continued to fly. Clifford was 42 and in apparent good health when he discovered his Parkinsons disease, signaled at first by difficulty moving his right arm and hand correctly. In 2012, the American Academy of Neurology gave him the Public Leadership in Neurology Award for increasing awareness of Parkinsons disease and for encouraging people living with Parkinsons to continue to pursue their dreams.
Everyone with PD handles it differently, said Clifford in an interview with the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Dont let it get in the way of living. Life is too good. Remember, keep going the skys the limit.
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Join The Parkinsons Forums: An Online Community For People With Parkinsons Disease
I havent seen all the movies above, so who am I to say if they are the best or not? I will say that in addition to Saving Milly, they are the ones that consistently appear when searching for movies on PD. I would add the following movies to the list. Although they are not necessarily about Parkinsons, they do offer inspiration to those struggling with PD or other illnesses and who are coming to terms with the end of life.
And lastly, a new film is in the works. Kinetics was written by Sue Wylie, an actress and writer who was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease several years ago. Kinetics was first written as a play based on Wylies own story with PD, so she understands what life with PD is really like.
Note: Parkinsons News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinsons News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinsons disease.