April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, so we rounded up the 20 best online resources for Parkinson’s so you can learn more about Parkinson’s disease and awareness.
A condition with no cure or treatment to stop its progression, Parkinson’s is the 14th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Whether you hang a poster, participate in a fundraising event or make a donation, your contribution to Parkinson’s Awareness Month makes a difference to the 1.5 million in the U.S. currently living with Parkinson’s disease.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
A progressive disorder of the nervous system, Parkinson’s disease occurs when the brain stops producing dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates movement and emotions. Parkinson’s sometimes starts with small tremors in one hand, but can also cause stiffness or slowing of movement.
Early warning signs of Parkinson’s include:
- Slight shaking or tremor in your hand, chin, lip or leg
- Loss of smell unrelated to a cold
- A sudden change in handwriting, typically writing much smaller than you did in the past
- Stiffness in the body, arms or legs that does not go away
- Often feeling dizzy or faint
- Thrashing or sudden movements during sleep or falling out of bed
The Latest Research on Parkinson’s
The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF), Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF), National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are among the groups that fund research into the causes and treatments for Parkinson’s disease. Some of the latest achievements in Parkinson’s research include:
- Drug Compound Moves to Phase III Testing: A Northwestern University study showed that the compound, isradipine, typically prescribed to treat high blood pressure, reduces risks for Parkinson’s by 30% among patients taking it as a blood pressure medication. Recruitment for phase III trials will begin later this year.
- Parkinson’s Disease Chemical Messenger Discovered: Researchers at the University of Dundee have identified a chemical messenger in the brain that protects against Parkinson’s, opening new avenues for treatments and a potential cure.
- Researchers Explore Genetics of Parkinson’s: Scientists at Northwestern University have planned a five-year study on individuals with gene mutations linked to PD, with the hope of gaining insight into a potential disease-modifying therapy.
Best Resources for Parkinson’s Awareness
To learn more about Parkinson’s disease and research and how you can help raise awareness, take a look at these online resources for Parkinson’s:
- National Parkinson Foundation (NPF): Provides support and care services for people with PD. The NPF has given millions of dollars to research projects focusing on innovations in treatment and the development of a potential cure.
- Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF): Strives to make progress toward new and improved treatments that can slow or stop the progression of Parkinson’s, better address symptoms of the disease and avoid the side effects of current medications.
- American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA): Focuses on research, public services, education and raising PD awareness, with the goal of finding a cure and easing the burden of having the disease.
- The APDA National Young Onset Center: Through education and personalized support services, addresses the unique needs of young people with Parkinson’s, their families and health care teams.
- National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NINDS): Details the signs and symptoms of PD, lists current and upcoming research studies, and calls for volunteers for clinical trials.
- Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Centers (PADRECC): A division of the Department of Veterans Affairs, PADRECC serves the approximately 80,000 veterans with PD through research, state-of-the-art clinical care, national outreach and advocacy.
- Parkinson’s Disease and Caregiving (Family Caregiver Alliance): Details Parkinson’s stages, symptoms and risks and how caregivers can manage treatments and find support.
- The Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center (PI): Located in Sunnyvale, California, the PI is the only independent, non-profit organization that provides basic and clinical research, clinical trials and patient care for PD and related neurological movement disorders in a single location.
- Parkinson’s Disease in the Elderly: Explains the symptoms, diagnosis and common treatment options for seniors with Parkinson’s.
- Parkinson’s Disease: In the Shadow of Alzheimer’s: Describes Parkinson’s symptoms and proinformation on how the BRAIN initiative will help fight neurodegenerative brain diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
- Can Vitamin D Reduce the Risks for Parkinson’s Disease?: Discusses the latest research and impact of vitamin D levels in the risk and treatment of PD.
- Study Reveals New Targets for Parkinson’s Disease: Discusses some of the latest scientific approaches on identifying genes that may contribute to the disease.
- BRAIN Initiative: Details the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Technologies (BRAIN) initiative and how it will help accelerate research and advancements in the field of neurologic and psychiatric disorders.
- Parkinson’s Disease: Quickly Identifying Patients at Risk of Dementia: Indicates a link between Parkinson’s and the acceleration of brain deterioration related to dementia.
- Coping Tips for Caregivers of Those With Parkinson’s Disease: Tells the challenges caregivers of individuals with PD and how they can cope as their loved one’s condition progresses.
- Parkinson’s Disease Progression: Describes the stages of the disease and the changes a person can expect as the disease progresses.
- Parkinson’s Unity Walk (PUW): A 1.4 mile walk that takes place annually in New York City to raise research funds and awareness for Parkinson’s. In 2013, the PUW raised over $1,700,000 for Parkinson’s research.
Have you participated in any Parkinson’s Awareness activities? What was your experience like? Share your story with us in the comments below.