Parkinsons Disease Is A Progressive Disorder
Parkinsons Disease is a slowly progressive neurodegenerative disorder that primarily affects movement and, in some cases, cognition. Individuals with PD may have a slightly shorter life span compared to healthy individuals of the same age group. According to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research, patients usually begin developing Parkinsons symptoms around age 60. Many people with PD live between 10 and 20 years after being diagnosed. However, a patients age and general health status factor into the accuracy of this estimate.
While there is no cure for Parkinsons disease, many patients are only mildly affected and need no treatment for several years after their initial diagnosis. However, PD is both chronic, meaning it persists over a long period of time, and progressive, meaning its symptoms grow worse over time. This progression occurs more quickly in some people than in others.
Pharmaceutical and surgical interventions can help manage some of the symptoms, like bradykinesia , rigidity or tremor , but not much can be done to slow the overall progression of the disease. Over time, shaking, which affects most PD patients, may begin to interfere with daily activities and ones quality of life.
What We Know So Far
- We’ve uncovered clues to the causes and genetic involvement in Parkinson’s.
- We’re figuring out the chain of events that leads to the damage and loss of brain cells.;;
- We’re working to advance new treatments and therapies.;
- We’re exploring repurposing drugs to help manage some of the more distressing symptoms, like hallucinations and falls.;
- And we know that, although people with Parkinson’s share symptoms, each person’s experience of the condition and response to treatment is different.
Now, the science is ready for us to develop the new treatments and cure that people with Parkinson’s so desperately need.
Research takes time. But we launched the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech to speed up the most promising potential treatments. The more we can invest, the sooner we’ll get there.
Symptoms And Warning Signs
Symptoms of Parkinsons fall into two major categories: those related to motor functions, and those related to changes in someones mood.;The four most common signs and symptoms of Parkinsons disease include:;
- Trembling: This usually presents itself in the arms, jaw, legs and face.
- Rigidity: Most patients experience stiffness of the bodys core as well as their arms and legs.
- Bradykinesia: This is the term for slowness of movement. Some patients pause or freeze when moving without being able to start again, and others begin to shuffle when trying to walk.
- Postural instability : This results in loss of strength, loss of balance and problems with moving muscles or coordinating body parts.
Other symptoms that can also occur, which often impact someones moods and other behaviors, include:
- Sexual dysfunction
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How Is Parkinsons Disease Diagnosed
There are currently no specific tests that diagnose PD. The diagnosis is based on:
- medical history and a neurological examination
- blood and laboratory tests, to rule out other disorders that may be causing the symptoms
- brain scans to rule out other disorders. However, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging brain scans of people with PD usually appear normal.
In rare cases, where people have a clearly inherited form of PD, researchers can test for known gene mutations as a way of determining an individuals risk of developing the disease. However, this genetic testing can have far-reaching implications and people should carefully consider whether they want to know the results of such tests.
What Area Of Parkinsons Research Are You Are Excited To Find Out More About
Particularly in this COVID world that were living in, one of the things that is really exciting is were increasingly seeing the role that technology can play in helping to track the disease experience of patients.
In this unprecedented year, weve seen such a such an emphasis on sheltering in place, particularly among our vulnerable populations. We have an online clinical study called Fox Insight and weve really seen an increase in registrations because it shows the potential of being able to participate in research from the safety of your own home, and still contribute to sharing knowledge about the disease.
In the US, weve also seen the embrace of telemedicine as a way to continue to think about managing care but not necessarily having to go into a doctors office. I think all of these experiences, coupled with ongoing advances in sensor technologies or smartphone apps, really show us the way technology can ease the burden, both of managing the disease and participating in research. I think that might be a little bit of a silver lining in a world where there arent very many silver linings at the moment.
Prevalence And Costs Of Parkinsons Disease
More than 10 million people worldwide live with Parkinsons disease, and nearly one million people in the United States will be afflicted with the condition by 2020, according to the Parkinsons Foundation. Thats more than the combined number of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and Lou Gehrigs disease. Men are 1.5 times more likely to have Parkinsons disease than women.
In the study that warned of a possible pandemic, scientists have tracked a troubling trend in the prevalence of Parkinsons. In 1855, 40 years after the condition was first described by medical science, only 22 people out of 15 million in England and Wales died of Parkinsons. In 2014, roughly 5,000 to 10,000 individuals out of 65 million in the UK died from the disease. As many as 17 million people or more may be stricken with Parkinsons by 2040. The main cause of Parkinsons disease? Getting older, researchers concluded, which makes you wonder about all of those regenerative medicine cures for living longer.
The combined direct and indirect cost of Parkinsons, including treatment, social security payments and lost income, is estimated to be nearly $25 billion per year in the United States alone. Medications cost an average of $2,500 a year and therapeutic surgery can cost up to $100,000 per person.
Molecule Offers Hope For Halting Parkinsons
- Parkinsons UK
- A promising molecule has offered hope for a new treatment that could stop or slow Parkinsons, something no treatment can currently do.
A promising molecule has offered hope for a new treatment that could stop or slow Parkinsons, something no treatment can currently do.
Researchers from the University of Helsinki found that molecule BT13 has the potential to both boost levels of dopamine, the chemical that is lost in Parkinsons, as well as protect the dopamine-producing brain cells from dying.
The results from the study, co-funded by Parkinsons UK and published online today in the journal Movement Disorders, showed an increase in dopamine levels in the brains of mice following the injection of the molecule. BT13 also activated a specific receptor in the mouse brains to protect the cells.
Typically, by the time people are diagnosed with Parkinsons, they have already lost 70-80 per cent of their dopamine-producing cells, which are involved in coordinating movement.
While current treatments mask the symptoms, there is nothing that can slow down its progression or prevent more brain cells from being lost, and as dopamine levels continue to fall, symptoms get worse and new symptoms can appear.
Researchers are now working on improving the properties of BT13 to make it more effective as a potential treatment which, if successful, could benefit the 145,000 people living with Parkinsons in the UK.
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Why Does The Theracycle Cost More Than A Basic Exercisebike
The Theracycle is not a simple exercise bike. The biggest difference is the motor, which allows you to work out at a higher cadence than you can do on your own. The Theracycles custom motor is both unique and essential, as it allows you to work out longer and more efficiently than you can with a traditional stationary or road bike.
Additionally, the bike is custom engineered for the specific needs of people with movement disorders, not only in its open walk-though design, but also when it comes to durability and, most importantly, stability. The Theracycle is built on a very sturdy, heavy structural steel frame. It has a low center of gravity by design, so you can be sure that it will never tip over on you, even if you need to use the bike to pull yourself up.
Finally, there is the issue of quality. We want you to be able to use the Theracycle every day for years to come, so every component mechanical and electrical is built to provide decades of use without failure. All of our parts are precision-made in small production runs, ensuring superior quality and durability. In addition to the powerful, highly specialized motor, the Theracycle is also equipped with sophisticated safety mechanisms and state-of-the-art electronics specifically designed for your needs. Every Theracycle is manufactured in the US and hand-built in Franklin, Massachusetts.
What Causes The Disease
The precise cause of PD is unknown, although some cases of PD are hereditary and can be traced to specific genetic mutations. Most cases are sporadicthat is, the disease does not typically run in families. It is thought that PD likely results from a combination of genetics and exposure to one or more unknown environmental factors that trigger the disease.
The protein alpha-synuclein. The affected brain cells of people with PD contain Lewy bodiesdeposits of the protein alpha-synuclein. Researchers do not yet know why Lewy bodies form or what role they play in the disease. Some research suggests that the cells protein disposal system may fail in people with PD, causing proteins to build up to harmful levels and trigger cell death. Additional studies have found evidence that clumps of protein that develop inside brain cells of people with PD may contribute to the death of neurons.
Genetics. Several genetic mutations are associated with PD, including the alpha-synuclein gene, and many more genes have been tentatively linked to the disorder. The same genes and proteins that are altered in inherited cases may also be altered in sporadic cases by environmental toxins or other factors.
Environment. Exposure to certain toxins has caused parkinsonian symptoms in rare circumstances . Other still-unidentified environmental factors may also cause PD in genetically susceptible individuals.
So Why Is Finding A Cure So Difficult
In the 1960s, when levodopa was first discovered, it was heralded as a cure for Parkinsons. Researchers had identified that Parkinsons symptoms were due to a lack of dopamine in the brain and had discovered a treatment that replaces this missing chemical messenger. For the first time, they had a drug with the ability to reduce and relieve symptoms of the condition. Today, levodopa is still the gold standard for Parkinsons treatment. When it comes to effective medical treatment it is actually very good, particularly in the early stages.
However, no current Parkinsons medication could be called a cure. Despite numerous improvements that have been made over the last 50 years, which make these drugs more effective and longer lasting, in the long term, these medications fail to completely relieve the symptoms of Parkinsons. The condition continues to have an ever-increasing impact on quality of life and, for many of the 145,000 people in the UK with Parkinsons, is a battle that is fought every day. Additionally, there are many symptoms, particularly non-motor symptoms like sleep problems, anxiety and pain, that are not adequately controlled by any medication. And these too progress as the condition becomes more severe.
When it comes to slowing Parkinsons, we can slow the progression of symptoms with exercise, but research has yet to provide a treatment that stops further damage to the brain. But the reasons why are actually quite simple, and can be overcome.
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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Lrrk2 Inhibitor For Parkinsons Disease
Meanwhile, a San Francisco-based biotech company called Denali Therapeutics , which went public back in December 2017, conducted phase 1b of a 28-day clinical trial for its LRRK2 inhibitor, DNL201, late last year. The company says inhibition of LRRK2 activity may potentially slow the progression of Parkinsons disease in patients with a genetic LRRK2 mutation, as well as in patients with sporadic Parkinsons disease. The therapy is designed to correct the lysosomal system, which serves as the landfill and recycling department of the cell. Lysosomal dysfunction is associated with neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinsons.
Who Can Get It
While anyone can develop Parkinsons disease, age is the greatest factor in receiving a diagnosis. The average age of developing this disease is 60, and men are more likely to receive a diagnosis than women. Having a close relative, like a parent or sibling, who has Parkinsons disease doubles your risk factor.;
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There Isnt Enough Investment In Parkinsons
Over that last few decades there have been a number of large scale clinical trials for Parkinsons that have failed at the final hurdle. These disappointments have led some companies to redirect their investment into other research areas, which may be perceived to be lower risk and potentially more profitable. Without investment promising ideas start to pile up on shelves with no opportunity to move forward, and progression towards better treatments slows and eventually stalls.
There are promising scientific discoveries for Parkinsons that are not being picked up and developed by commercial companies. We believe we can step in here to bring new treatments forward faster. Through our Parkinsons Virtual Biotech were acting in a similar way to a small biotech company. However, unlike a commercial company, we are dedicated to developing new treatments for one condition Parkinsons, and doing so as quickly as possible.
European Biotechs Fire Up Deals To Develop Parkinsons Treatments
Last month, European biotechs Ipsen and AC Immune announced multi-million euro deals to acquire or license treatments for Parkinsons disease. For some experts, this increasing interest in the brain disease with the fastest growing prevalence is long overdue.
In July, Swiss company AC Immune bought assets and intellectual property for investigational Parkinsons vaccines valued at nearly 50M from Austrian firm Affiris. AC immune will immediately begin a phase II clinical study involving an optimized formulation of the most advanced acquired vaccine candidate, which targets alpha-synuclein, a protein whose accumulation in the brain is linked to Parkinsons.
In the same month, the UK-based Ipsen signed a deal potentially worth more than 300M for an exclusive, global license to a small molecule Parkinsons drug from Swedish IRLAB. The drug, called mesdopetam, is being assessed in phase IIb trials to treat involuntary movements that can be a side effect from a common Parkinsons disease treatment called levodopa. Ipsen is now taking on preparations for phase III investigational studies of the same drug.
Currently, there is no cure for Parkinsons. Treatments such as physiotherapy, medication, and, in some cases, surgery are only able to alleviate symptoms and maintain quality of life. Levodopa is one of the main Parkinsons treatments in use; it increases the levels of dopamine in the brain to address the motor symptoms of Parkinsons.
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How Close Are We To A Cure For Parkinsons
Saskia Mair of Parkinsons Lifeinterviews Sohini Chowdhury, Deputy CEO of the ;Michael J Fox Foundation.
How close do you think the scientific community is to finding a cure for Parkinsons?
Whenever I say the word cure, I kind of put it in quotes. I think its important to remember that a cure can mean different things to different people.
If youre 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.
If youre able to slow or halt the disease progression so that the moment you get diagnosed, it never progresses beyond that point but youre still taking a pill every day for the rest of your life, that could be a cure.
Theres a recognition now that Parkinsons; is not one disease experience. It is a disease experience that is very variable, so we have to be open minded because a cure for one person could be very different than a cure for another person.
I think the fact that this is now accepted in the research community is a good thing for patients. Its not a one size fit all approach. We have finally understood that we need lots of different cures to fit the different patient experiences under the name Parkinsons disease.
In terms of how close we are is it tomorrow? Absolutely not. But theres so many resources, money, scientific knowledge, and brainpower across the world being put forth into this.