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Parkinson’s Today Blog

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Welcome to the National Parkinson Foundation's blog, where you can keep up-to-date on the latest research, read about what's hot in the Parkinson's community, learn caregiving tips and more.

What's Hot in PD? Pesticides and Environmental Exposures in Parkinson’s Disease: Should We Stay Away From The Stink Truck?

Date: 
Monday, March 2, 2009
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

When I was a kid we used to ride our bicycles around the neighborhood and in the afternoons we chased one of two trucks; the ice cream truck or the pesticide spraying “stink” truck.  Needless to say, ice cream has not been implicated in causing Parkinson’s disease, however, certain pesticides and environmental exposures have been making the news for possible Parkinson associations.  There has been a recent explosion of research into pesticide exposure and Parkinson’s disease.

What's Hot in PD? Breaking a Sweat: Is Exercise On Its Way Back Into the Armamentarium for Treatment and Protection Against Parkinson’s Disease?

Date: 
Monday, February 2, 2009
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

Many years before adequate medication treatments were developed to address the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, some doctors recommended exercise, staying busy, and when engaging in activities being as “physical” as possible.  There are stories of institutionalized Parkinson’s disease patients (prior to the levodopa era) who were asked to push the chart cart for doctors on rounds, or to fold towels for hospital staff.  Early observations about improvement in Parkinson’s disease patients following task specific physical ex

What's Hot in PD? Why are Transplant Trials Struggling to Succeed in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease?

Date: 
Monday, January 5, 2009
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

Recently, another transplant trial in Parkinson’s disease was reported as a failure (Spheramine).  It seemed rational many years ago when scientists proposed cell replacement as the penultimate neurorestorative therapy for Parkinson’s disease, but sometimes rational is not enough.  The track record, however has been less than expected.  There have however, been many lessons learned and the experience will hopefully help us toward better therapies in the future.

What's Hot in PD? Are Rasagiline (Azilect) and other Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors Disease Modifying or Neuroprotective in Parkinson’s Disease?

Date: 
Monday, December 1, 2008
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

There has long been interest as to whether monoamine oxidase type B inhibitors may have disease modifying or neuroprotective benefits in Parkinson’s disease(1-4). Disease modifying agents are thought to alter the course or progression of a particular disease. Neuroprotective therapies alternatively provide protection of neurons from neurodegeneration or other injuries (2-4). No therapies to date have been proven to be disease modifying or neuroprotective in Parkinson’s disease patients.

What's Hot in PD? Update on Gene Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease

Date: 
Monday, November 3, 2008
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

A common question asked by many patients and families afflicted with Parkinson’s disease is, “what is gene therapy?” Quite simply, gene therapy is placing genetic information (DNA) into the cells and tissues of humans with Parkinson’s disease. In the purest form a defective part of the genome is replaced with a new copy. Perhaps the most interesting part of the evolving story of gene therapy has been the use of a virus as a vector to carry the genetic information into the brain.

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