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Parkinson’s Disease Legal Issues

Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Disease

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Parkinson’s disease is a nervous system disorder that affects movement and progresses over time. Symptoms typically start gradually and cause a variety of both motor and non-motor.

Parkinson’s disease can’t be cured, but the medications and treatment options that are available help improve and lessen the symptoms.

Motor and Non-Motor Symptoms of Parkinson’s

  • Difficulty walking
  • Difficulty or soft speaking
  • Reduced facial expression, blank stare
  • Whole body fatigue or dizziness
  • Amnesia or confusion in evening hours
  • Early awakenings or sleep disturbances
  • Anxiety or apathy

How Is Paraquat Used

Licensed Paraquat applicators apply the weedkiller directly to plants as a spray that kills the leaves with direct contact. The compound is inactivated when it makes contact with soil. Although commonly used to kill weeds and grass, Paraquat can also be sprayed on other crops. Examples include:

The pesticide is sprayed as a mechanism for clearing fields before crops are planted, as well as for the purpose of destroying marijuana crops in Mexico and the U.S. According to the Unified Parkinson’s Advisory Council, Paraquat is also used as an herbicide for weeds that have developed a resistance to Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides.

With $640 million in global sales reported in 2011, the use of Paraquat has recently been experiencing a sales increase as a result of the rise in high-profile Roundup lawsuits, as well as an increase in the number of glyphosate-resistant weeds.

Planning Ahead: Estate Planning

Estate planning is the process of memorializing your wishes for how you want your estate handled in the event of incapacity and upon your passing. Proper estate planning can protect you and those you care for such as a spouse, partner, children or others as Parkinson’s progresses.

A well-drafted estate plan includes the following documents:

  • Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, Healthcare Proxy, or Medical Power of Attorney
  • Durable Financial Power of Attorney
  • Will/Revocable Trust

Incapacity planning is important for everyone, not just those living with Parkinsons. Anyone over the age of 18 should have a Healthcare Directive and a Financial Power of Attorney. The Healthcare Directive allows you to designate someone to make healthcare decisions for you in the event you are unable to make decisions for yourself. A Financial Power of Attorney allows you to designate someone to make financial decisions for you in the event you are unable. Parkinsons progression is different for every person.

It is extremely important to have documents in place as soon as possible after a diagnosis. Your family and caregivers will thank you for providing clear direction on how to best help you in the event of incapacity.

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Implications For Future Research And Practice

In many areas, this small data set indicate mixed messages for example, about satisfaction with receiving diagnosis, support with regard to future medical care or with end-of-life care planning. These maybe indicative of variable quality of experiences. To ensure that management of patients is ethical, equity in patients experiences is important. Future research therefore needs to explore the issues emerging in this interview study further, both from patient as well as carer and the medical teams perspectives.

How Does Paraquat Cause Parkinsons

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Paraquat can alter cell chemistry to the point of cell damage and death through a process called oxidative stress.

When specific dopamine neuron cells in the brain are damaged and lose the ability to function properly, Parkinsons disease may result.

Individuals can be subject to paraquat-induced parkinsonism by:

  • Coming into close proximity with recently sprayed plants
  • Accidentally getting paraquat on their skin or hair
  • Mixing, loading, or applying paraquat

Those with frequent and chronic exposure to the weed-killer may be more likely to develop Parkinsons disease caused by paraquat.

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How Can I Help Myself

Making sure that all your financial and legal documents are up to date and well organised is probably the most important thing you can do. But there are a number of other practical steps that may be helpful:

  • Sign up for electronic banking if you have online access as this can save you the inconvenience of going to the bank.
  • As your handwriting and possibly your signature may alter over time make sure you give your bank a copy of your new Parkinsons signature. If writing becomes difficult see if you can use Chip and PIN cards so you need only enter numbers on a keypad.
  • Securely store an up to date list of all your PIN numbers and passwords. You can buy password manager programmes that securely store passwords on your computer. Avoid obvious passwords like 1234 or your date of birth and use different passwords for different sites. Try and include a mix of upper and lower case letters in a password, as well as numbers and symbols.

Product Liability And Paraquat Lawsuits

There is evidence that companies manufacturing and selling Paraquat were aware of the risks of toxicity, yet deliberately concealed it and continued to market it, without disclosure or warning, causing thousands of agricultural workers and residents of nearby communities, and their families, to be exposed to the risk of a life-altering condition. They can be held liable for making and selling a dangerous product without proper warnings.

If you or a loved one has suffered the devastating effects of Parkinsons disease and had a history of exposure to Paraquat, you can join hundreds of others who have filed claims against Paraquat companies across the US. The number of product liability suits for Paraquat in federal courts is now well over 800 and growing. There are additional cases in state courts. These legal proceedings are in their early phase and facts are still being gathered in the cases .

Of course, filing a claim cant take away the pain and suffering caused by Parkinsons disease, but you can pursue compensation for past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, costs of rehabilitation and home care, and, in some cases like this, even punitive damages may be awarded. Making a claim can also help hold companies accountable for their wrongdoing and help spread awareness about the dangers of Paraquat.

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Connect With An Attorney Today

Now is the time to get your claim underway for your debilitating Parkinsons Disease, so you need to complete the Free Case Evaluation Form to get in contact with an advocate or attorney. Your advocate or lawyer will go over all your records and documentation to determine if you meet the requirements to qualify for disability benefits using either medical criteria or a medical-vocational allowance. Get your claim underway today!

Links To Parkinson’s Disease

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Paraquat has been linked to multiple side effects, including Parkinson’s disease. Paraquat can alter the chemistry of a cell through a process called oxidative stress. This can cause cell damage and even death of the cell. When specific dopamine neuron cells in the brain are damaged and can no longer function properly, Parkinson’s disease can occur.

The highly toxic herbicide has been banned in 32 countries across the world, but not yet in the United States. The use of this herbicide in the United States has, in fact continuously grown in the recent years.

Click here to read a letter written by the Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council

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Do I Need To See A Dentist Who Specializes In Parkinsons

Most dentists will be able to treat you regardless of how advanced your Parkinsons disease is. However, it is vital that you tell your dentist you have Parkinsons disease and the associated symptoms.Your dentist will suggest a routine adapted to the condition of your mouth in order to prevent, identify and treat the problems most often associated with Parkinsons disease. They will also be able to give you brushing techniques that are best suited for the condition of your mouth.

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Paraquat Lawsuits Settlement Amounts

The Paraquat MDL is relatively new, and no mass settlements have been reached as of today. In terms of the compensation you can get for your Paraquat settlement or verdict, please know that every case is different, depending on how your Paraquat-caused Parkinson’s disease has affected you.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after having significant exposure to Paraquat, then we will seek the following damages on your behalf:

  • Past and future medical expenses stemming from Paraquat-caused Parkinson’s injuries
  • Past and future pain and suffering caused by the injuries, as well as the treatment and recovery process
  • Past and future loss of wages
  • Past and future loss of capacity to earn
  • Past and future diminished enjoyment of life
  • Punitive damages, if appropriate
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    Motor Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease

    Motor symptoms refer to any symptoms that affect your movement or motor skills, like walking or controlling your body.

    Parkinsons disease is characterized by some of the following motor symptoms:

    • Impaired balance or postural instability
    • Limb rigidity or stiffness
    • Resting tremors

    Over time, people with Parkinsons may experience difficulty walking and talking.

    Sidebar: Ninds Steps Up Pursuit Of Pd Biomarkers


    In 2012, the NINDS dramatically accelerated efforts to identify biomarkers by establishing the Parkinsons Disease Biomarkers Program . This unprecedented program unites a range of stakeholders from basic and clinical researchers to healthcare professionals, the NINDS staff, information technology experts, and people living with PD and their families.

    PDBP supports research and builds resources aimed at accelerating the discovery of biomarkers to ultimately slow the progression of PD. For example, the program has established a repository of biological specimens and a Data Management Resource system maintained by the NIH Center for Information Technology. The DMR allows researchers to access clinical, imaging, genetic, and biologic data, while a complementary PDBP-supported project develops statistical tools to analyze vast quantities of data so that patterns can be identified across these diverse sources of information.

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    What Is Paraquat Used For

    The United States Environmental Protection Agency has classified paraquat as a restricted-use pesticide, which means paraquat is not allowed to be used recreationally. Paraquat can only be used commercially by licensed applicators.

    Paraquat is used as an herbicide and weed killer to prevent the growth of weeds and grass near crops on large and small commercial farms, estates, plantations, and orchards. Sold under the brand names Gramoxone and Ortho Paraquat, paraquat is a common alternative for weeds that have become resistant to glyphosate, an ingredient in Monsantos Roundup.

    Despite the known dangers of this toxic chemical, paraquat is still one of the most commonly used herbicides in the world.

    Americans With Disabilities Act

    The Americans with Disabilities Act protects against unlawful discrimination based on disability in nearly all aspects of American life.

    Having or being diagnosed with an illness does not automatically entitle someone to those protections, and for those eligible for protections, the scope of their rights may be limited.

    The ADA is the cornerstone civil rights law, providing equal opportunity for people with disabilities in the U.S.

    The ADA offers protections in the following key areas :

  • Employment, in companies with 15 or more employees
  • Public services programs, services and activities of state and local government
  • Public accommodations and services operated by private entities, such as your lawyers or doctors office, movie theaters, restaurants and more
  • Below is a brief synopsis of many of the key protections that will be afforded to a person who satisfies the ADAs definition of disability, along with a few limitations of those rights:

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    Is There A Paraquat Lawsuit

    Unfortunately, many individuals have developed Parkinsons disease as a result of paraquat exposure, including those who live near agricultural areas where the harmful chemical is used. The widespread use of the substance makes it especially unsettling, as many farmers heavily rely on paraquat without understanding its destructive effects. If you or a loved one were diagnosed with Parkinsons disease due to pesticide exposure, Morgan & Morgan can help you secure the compensation youre entitled to.

    Questions About Medications For Sleep Issues And Parkinsons

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    Q: Can you recommend an antidepressant that wont make RBD worse?

    A: Certain anti-depressants have been associated with REM behavior sleep disorder including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as paroxetine, sertraline, and citalopram, and tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline and nortriptyline. In clinical studies, about 5% of all people taking these antidepressants report RBD, although rates vary from study to study. Other types of anti-depressants have not been studied as formally, although there are case reports that serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors such as duloxetine can also be associated with RBD. It is therefore not clear which anti-depressant has absolutely no chance of worsening RBD, so it may be a case of trial and error to find the one that works for you without worsening RBD.

    Levodopa and Other Parkinsons Disease Medications

    Q: Levodopa seems to give me a lot of energy during the day, so I avoid taking it within about three hours of bedtime. Does that make sense?

    A: Yes, it does. Some people get very sleepy from levodopa, but if you find that it has the opposite effect, then avoiding it before bed makes sense. Be aware that this may mean that you have more OFF time through the night.

    Q: Does levodopa doses help insomnia?

    If you are seeking addition information on levodopa, our blog post Five Myths about Levodopa details the medication and its misconceptions.



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    Important Legal Issues For Caregivers

    As a caregiver for someone with Parkinsons or Alzheimers disease, you should start to make legal preparations as soon as you can after your loved ones diagnosis. People who have one of these diseases often will have the ability to manage their legal and financial affairs in the beginning. But as the diseases progress, they will need you and other caregivers to act for them. This transition to caring for someone else is not easy. But with some planning in advance, people with long term diseases and their families will be better prepared for what comes down the road.

    It is important that you have clearly written legal documents that outline what your loved ones wishes are. these documents might authorize you or someone else to make their healthcare and financial decisions, and also long term care plans. If the person you are caring for has the mental capacity to sign legal documents, she should work with you in this legal planning.

    For your loved one to get the best care, you should get legal advice from an experienced lawyer in this field. If your loved one is 65 or older, you should think about hiring a lawyer who works in elder law. As you start to plan for the future, ask your elder law lawyer about these documents:

    If you or your loved on cannot afford a lawyer, there are many legal forms available on the Internet. You also can often discuss legal issues with a social worker or clergy without cost to you.

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    Do I Qualify For A Paraquat Lawsuit

    Plaintiffs across the country have filed lawsuits claiming that they were diagnosed with Parkinsons disease, and that Syngentas paraquat weed killers are to blame. If you suffer from Parkinsons and believe you were exposed to paraquat as a farmer or licensed pesticide applicator, you may be able to file a lawsuit. A successful lawsuit can provide compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses or hardships.

    Morgan & MorganAmericas largest injury law firmis proud to fight on behalf of Americas farmers. Weve previously represented farmers in claims involving Monsantos Roundup and Dicamba. We have the strength, resources, and reputation to take on Syngenta, the worlds largest agrochemical company. Contact us and schedule a free case review to learn more about how Morgan & Morgan may be able to help you.

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    Changes In Cognition And Parkinsons Disease

    Some people with Parkinsons may experience changes in their cognitive function, including problems with memory, attention, and the ability to plan and accomplish tasks. Stress, depression, and some medications may also contribute to these changes in cognition.

    Over time, as the disease progresses, some people may develop dementia and be diagnosed with Parkinsons dementia, a type of Lewy body dementia. People with Parkinsons dementia may have severe memory and thinking problems that affect daily living.

    Talk with your doctor if you or a loved one is diagnosed with Parkinsons disease and is experiencing problems with thinking or memory.

    Dental Appointments: A Challenge To Both Patients And Dentists

    Parkinsonâs disease: Coping after the diagnosis [infographic]

    The use of dental care services mainly depends on their accessibility and affordability . While several barriers have been identified at the individual, organizational and policy levels for elders and vulnerable people, PD patients have to face even more challenges in accessing and undergoing dental treatment.

    Cognitive decline and dementia may prevent patients from reporting oral and dental symptomatology and complying with dental treatment . In addition, cognitive disorders make them more likely to miss dental appointments or react with care-resistant behavior when receiving assistance .

    Finally, dentists may have limited knowledge and experience regarding the specific needs and management of PD patients . The patient-dentist relationship is hampered by several PD-related verbal and non-verbal communication impairments. Hypomimia and amimia are linked with reduced facial expressiveness, fixed gaze, disruption of facial emotion recognition , and alterations in the facial expression of pain . Speech and language disorders directly impair verbal communication, while cognitive impairment as well as micrography and other handwriting abnormalities complicate the picture.

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