Catching up on the Parkinson’s News

Novelty in exercise is important—incorporating things that are new into the routine

Melita T. Petrossian, MD

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get all of the news for Parkinson’s in one place? There is a lot happening and it can be hard to keep up. Today, I want to share a few interesting articles that I have read in the last week.

Congress Introduces the National Plan to End Parkinson’s Act

Contact your congressperson now!

On Thursday, July 28, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the first-ever legislation solely devoted to ending Parkinson’s disease. This is a historic moment for the Parkinson’s community!

The National Plan to End Parkinson’s Act (H.R.8585) will, for the first time, unite the federal government and private enterprise in a mission to prevent and cure Parkinson’s, alleviate financial and health burdens on American families, and ensure those living with the disease have access to the care they need.

This bipartisan legislation is led by Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL). The Michael J. Fox Foundation and Parkinson’s community are thankful for their leadership. Continue reading here

Project to Develop Self-driving Cars for Parkinson’s Seeks Patients

This one is from my alma mater. Go Blue! If you live near the U of M campuses in Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint, check this out.

A new project by scientists at the University of Michigan (UM) aims to design a prototype autonomous vehicle that’s specifically designed to help meet the needs of people living with Parkinson’s disease.

The project, called “Inclusive Design in Shared Autonomous Vehicles for People with Parkinson’s Disease,” is being funded by a $40,000 grant from the UM-Dearborn – UM-Flint Collaborative Research Funding Program.

Nathaniel Miller, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at UM-Flint, is one of the scientists leading the project. Miller, whose grandfather was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2015, has previously worked on developing apps that can help Parkinson’s patients monitor their disease symptoms. read more here

New technique raises hopes of early Parkinson’s diagnosis

A new technique could reveal biological changes associated with the early stages of Parkinson’s and patients’ movement dysfunction.

The method has allowed researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) to look at microstructures within the part of the deep brain known as the striatum – which deteriorates during the progress of Parkinson’s disease.

The usual method of visualising brain structure utilises MRI which is not sensitive enough to reveal the biological changes that take place in the brain of Parkinson patients.

The researchers led by Professor Aviv Mezer, have shown that the cellular changes in Parkinson’s could be revealed by adapting a related technique, known as quantitative MRI (qMRI). read more here

The Benefits of Group Exercise for People with Neurologic Disorders

We already knew this, but this article from the latest Brain & Life Magazine tells you why it works and how to find the right classes for you.

If she heard it once, she heard it a hundred times. “Exercise,” says Darlene Feigen, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2016. “Everyone kept telling me I had to exercise. But I’m not an exercise person!”

Feigen eventually relented. “I got tired of hearing it from my doctor,” she says. She went to a few of the large gyms near her home in Oak Park, CA, but didn’t last long. “They weren’t for someone like me,” she says. They seemed more suitable for people in better shape than Feigen.

Frustrated, she sought help from Esta McIntyre, a trainer her husband had met at a networking group who, like Feigen, was a native New Yorker. “I needed someone to kick my you-know-what and still make it fun,” says Feigen, now 52. “Because Esta is from New York, I knew she could do that.” Continue here.

For Women with Parkinson’s Disease

Join us for Sunday Mornings with Twitchy Woman. This Sunday, August 2 at 1:00 PM ET, 10:00 AM PT, Eli Pollard, CEO of the World Parkinson Coalition, will be talking about the upcoming World Parkinson’s Congress in Barcelona. Please join us by registering here.

Also on Sunday at 11:30 AM ET, 8:30 AM PT, our new group for Twitchies without Partners will be meeting. If you are a woman with PD living alone, we welcome you to join us. Please email Sharon at for more information.


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A Note To My Readers

I love to see your comments and get your emails as we share our collective experiences. But based on a couple of private questions from some of you, remember, I am just a lay person and a patient like the rest of you. For medical and similar advice, you need to talk to your own doctor

Twitchy Woman

Twitchy Women partners with the Parkinson’s Wellness Fund to ensure we have the resources to offer peer support for women with Parkinson’s.