Parkinsons

What is Parkinsons? Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that causes a gradual loss of muscle control. The symptoms of Parkinson’s tend to be mild at first and can sometimes be overlooked. Distinctive signs of the disease include tremors, stiffness, slowed body movements, and poor balance. Parkinson’s was originally called a “shaking palsy,” but not everyone with Parkinson’s has a tremor.

Important Facts: No one knows for sure what makes these nerve cells break down. But scientists are doing a lot of research to look for the answer. They are studying many possible causes, including aging and poisons in the environment.

The four main symptoms of Parkinson’s are: tremor, stiff muscles, slow movement, and problems with balance or walking.

Statistics: It affects 1 in 100 the age of 60. The average age of onset is 60 years of age. 15% are diagnosed before the age of 50. There are slightly more men than women affected with Parkinsons.

While Parkinson’s can be a frightening diagnosis, life expectancy is about the same as for people without the disease. For some people symptoms evolve slowly over 20 years. Early treatment can provide years that are virtually symptom-free. About 5% to 10% of cases occur before age 50.

DO’s/Don’ts: Berries May Contain Potent Weapon vs. Parkinson’s — Men and women who ate berries two or more times a week were nearly 25% less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than their counterparts who had less than one serving per month.

Study: Less Parkinson’s in Smokers — A study of families with Parkinson’s disease shows that smoking and caffeine use protect against the deadly brain disorder.

Iron May Increase Risk of Parkinson’s — With apologies to Popeye, there may be a downside to eating too much spinach. New research suggests that people who have high amounts of iron in their diets may be at increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Common Myths: Nicotine Improves Some Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease — It’s the drug that hooks cigarette smokers, sending many of them to an early grave. But it may actually help patients with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, Tourette’s syndrome, and several other neurological disorders.