Research into Parkinson’s disease expands

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – There was a time when Parkinson’s disease was considered rare but emerging evidence suggests Parkinson’s is reaching pandemic proportions.

The N.I.H. estimates that half a million Americans are now living with the disease but ongoing research is helping increase the potential for treatment options.

In his mid-fifties, John Cox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease three years ago but even before then, he noticed changes in his movements.

“I had an issue where if I did this to my hand it would kick my hand to start shaking and I couldn’t stop it and I’m like ‘Something’s not right,’” he said.

Cox Is now participating in his second clinical trial into treatments for Parkinson’s.

“I enrolled in the first one sheer just trying to be first in line to get some kind of medication to stop this or at least treat it,” he said.

Dr. Sonia Kalirao, a neurologist with HCA Florida Northwest Regional Hospital and The Neurology Institute is leading several clinical trials into Parkinson’s.

“So, the research that is incoming both in the diagnostic world as well as therapeutic, means diagnosis, how can we establish a diagnosis how we can say a patient is starting having Parkinson’s or even better how we can say you’re predisposed to having Parkinson’s, and then there’s therapeutic okay we have a diagnosis how can we treat you,” Kalirao said.

Researchers are looking into treatment with a form of vitamin B-three and investigating new ways to detect the disease through eye scans and blood tests.

“We are excited about these trials because they will give us more standardization about the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease,” Kalirao said.

While there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s Disease the earlier it’s detected the more treatment and care a person can receive to help slow disease progression.

“Who knows, this one I’m on right now could be the one,” Cox said.

While Parkinson’s is most common in people over the age of 60, early-onset Parkinson’s, which often has a genetic component, can affect people under 50.

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