Parkinson's Disease Genes Identified

Senior caregivers for seniors with Parkinson's disease know the many challenges this disease presents for caregiving:  taking medications on time throughout the day, monitoring for falls and understanding memory loss that can occur.

Scientists have just identified 5 new genes linked to Parkinson's disease which could soon lead to a diagnostic test for the disease which currently has no cure.  It usually strikes around age 50 but some, such as actor Michael J. Fox, develop the disease earlier.

Environmental factors have long been thought to contribute to the disease.  The average person has a 2.5 % chance of developing the disease in their lifetime.

As this disease is progressive, it can take a significant toll on caregivers, too.  One of my dearest friends from high school has been assisting with her father's care for the past 20 years.  He found out he had Parkinson's Disease the week after he had retired early.  She built a wheelchair ramp when she built a new house and has learned to cherish the time that she has to spend with him, while watching this disease slowly take away his physical capabilities and mental capacity.

As a degenerative brain disease, Parkinson's strikes when brain cells don't make enough of the chemical dopamine.  This leads to tremors, rigidity and slowness of movement.  There is no cure for the disease but the gene discovery

That leads to symptoms including tremors, rigidity and slowness of movement.  There are limited treatments and no cure for the disease.

Caregiver training can assist with caregiving skills for seniors with Parkinson's disease.

And if you Google, the good news is one of the Google founders, Sergey Brin, has donated millions to Parkinson's Disease research as his mother has the disease.  Your Googling is helping to find  a cure for Parkinson's!  Read more in this New York Times article.

Comments (1) -

  • Patty

    2/3/2011 10:37:50 PM | Reply

    Very scary disease.  It's horrible that it can strike so early in Michael J Fox case.  Thank you for pointing that googling helps with Parkinson's Research - interesting factoid. Hopefully all that money would put us step closer to developing a cure.

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