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New treatments for Parkinson's disease

Overview

Published: 04/15/2015

by Marcus Johnson

Parkinson Alberta (PA) is an Alberta-based charitable organization dedicated to helping those affected by the disease through support, education, advocacy and research. The breadth and depth of the services PA provides make a real, positive, and lasting impact. It helps them to live better day-to-day lives and to hold on to their freedom for as long as possible. More information is available at www.parkinsonalberta.ca.

Did you know that the incidence of Parkinson's disease is expected to rise almost 50% over the next 20 years due to Canada's aging population? This progressive brain disorder currently affects nearly 100,000 Canadians and 6 million people worldwide. This means that many more of us will be affected by it in some way in future.

Some common symptoms of the disease are tremors, slowness of movement, stiffness, impaired balance, and rigidity of the muscles. The disease progresses at a different rate for everyone. As the it progresses, symptoms can worsen to the point where a person becomes dependent on others to perform even basic activities, such as help getting out of a chair and turning over in bed.

While there is presently no cure for Parkinson's, there are a number of treatments, both drug and therapy based, available to help control symptoms and improve quality of life.

“The initial goal of drug treatment is to lessen the symptoms and to reduce disability without inducing complications over the long term,” says Dr. Ranjit Ranawaya, a neurologist and expert in movement disorders. “Surgery, including the implantation of deep brain stimulators, as well as new therapies such as DUODOPA can improve the quality of life for those with advanced stages of the disease.”

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