ichael J. Fox. Janet Reno. Muhammad Ali. These are just a few of the names of an estimated one million Americans who are living with Parkinson's Disease.
Dr. Sussman carefully examines a patient's
mammogram for any abnormalities.
This degenerative disorder slowly diminishes movement, muscle control, and balance due to the significant loss of the important neurotransmitter, dopamine. The loss of dopamine in the brain affects the nerves and muscles controlling movement, presenting itself in the form of tremors in the fingers and hands, a slow, shuffling walk, muscle rigidity and, in late stages, the virtual freezing of muscles.
Promising new drugs and breakthroughs in research over the years have vastly improved the quality of life for many people living with the disease and, according to Daniel B. Rubin, MD, Ph.D., Director of the Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorder Center at Winthrop-University Hospital, there is even more hope on the horizon.
Study of New Drug Gets Underway at Winthrop
Winthrop's Clinical Trials Center has been selected as one of 100 sites to study a promising new investigational medication which treats the symptoms of Early Onset Parkinson's Disease. Dr. Rubin explains that this new drug, a dopamine receptor agonist (stimulates selective dopamine receptors on brain neurons), has been shown to improve mobility and has less side effects than other similar drugs currently on the market.
While there is no known cause or cure for Parkinson's Disease, Dr. Rubin states that there are many effective treatments to slow its progression, especially when treatment begins in the early stages.
"It is important to give hope to patients and to keep them functioning normally and independently for as long as possible," added Dr. Rubin. "The goals of treatment are to relieve disabilities, to balance the problems associated with the disease and sustain a patient's quality of life."
Dr. Rubin is optimistic that this new investigational medication, as well as other treatments in the future, will greatly help those living with Parkinson's Disease and other related movement disorders. Linda Wittner, a patient of Dr. Rubin's who was diagnosed last year with (dopa-responsive) dystonia, a movement disorder that exhibits similar Parkinsonian symptoms and responds well to the same treatment, holds out the same hope.
"After years of being misdiagnosed and suffering from hand tremors and severe muscle rigidity in my legs, Dr. Rubin diagnosed my problem correctly as (dopa-responsive) dystonia," said Ms. Wittner, a thirty-something mother of two. "Within 24-hours of treatment I was like a new person. I no longer walked with a limp, my tremors subsided, I had my mobility and stamina back and I could run after my kids. After so many years of feeling bad, I now have a life I thought I'd never know and so can many other people living with movement disorders."
For information on Winthrop's Clinical Trials Center, call (516) 663-9582. For more information on Parkinson's Disease treatment and support groups, call the Institute for Neurosciences at 1-866-Neuro Rx.