News ArchivesRead News
Parkinson's event at Buck draws hundreds
Thursday September 17, 2009
Contra Costa Times - Researchers told more than 250 people packed into an auditorium at the Buck Institute for Age Research on Thursday that diagnosing and treating Parkinson's disease before people display symptoms has become one of the latest movements in the scientific field.
"The Holy Grail right now is the pre-symptomatic diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson's," Buck professor Julie Andersen told the crowd. "The key thing is, 'Can we treat you before you actually show symptoms of the disease?'"
Andersen and Alison McCormack of the Parkinson's Institute in Sunnyvale described in detail the latest research by their organizations in the seminar, titled "Parkinson's Disease: From Bench to Bedside." The key, they said, is turning the latest research into clinical diagnosis and treatment for patients before they show prevalent symptoms such as hand tremors, rigidity and postural instability.
Andersen said there are no standard tests available to make a diagnosis in people before they show symptoms, but advances are being made. Much of the effort in that regard is focusing on bringing down costs for imaging tests such as MRIs that could help with early detection.
McCormack said her institute's research has shown a high prevalence for impaired sense of smell among those who eventually get Parkinson's but who have yet to display other signs of the disease.
Both professors said that aging and environmental factors such as exposure to pesticides remain the primary causes. There are more than 1.5 million people worldwide suffering from Parkinson's at a cost of $6 billion annually. The rate of contracting it jumps from 1 out of 100 for people over age 65 to 1 out of 30 for those over age 85.
Many attendees said they had Parkinson's and were hoping to learn more both about the causes and new treatments.
Judith Geri, 64, of Petaluma said that people who don't yet have Parkinson's are less likely to attend a seminar on the disease. "But most of the research we heard about today is for people that don't have Parkinson's yet," she said. "All of the new tests are for people who just started showing symptoms. What are they going to do for the people who already have it?"
Recent NewsMay 24 - Survival Rates Differ Widely in Parkinson's, MSA, Lewy Bodies
May 22 - Discovery may offer hope to Parkinson's disease patients
May 15 - Study offers answers on life expectancy for people with Parkinson's disease, Lewy body dementia
May 5 - Parkinson's in a dish: Researchers reproduce brain oscillations
May 5 - ‘Hunger Hormone’ Could Help Treat Parkinson’s Disease
May 3 - Antibiotic doxycycline may offer hope for treatment of Parkinson's disease
May 1 - Impulse Control Disorders in Parkinson's Disease: Building Physician, Patient Awareness
Apr 28 - Does Parkinson’s disease begin in the gut?
Apr 28 - New empathy-creating digital device could be revolutionary for caregivers
Apr 24 - Treating Depression With Deep Brain Stimulation Works—Most of the Time
Apr 24 - Parkinson’s disease shows links to depression
Apr 21 - TOLEDO Trial: Apomorphine Infusions Reduce 'Off' Time in Parkinson's Disease
Apr 21 - New drug provides long-awaited breakthrough for Parkinson's psychosis
Apr 12 - Obstructive Sleep Apnea Affects Cognition in Parkinson's Disease
Apr 11 - Seattle boxing gym giving hope to Parkinson's patients
Apr 10 - A new rhythm
Apr 10 - Brain cells reprogrammed to make dopamine, with goal of Parkinson's therapy
Apr 6 - FDA allows marketing of first direct-to-consumer tests that provide genetic risk information for certain conditions
Apr 5 - Combatting the isolation of young onset Parkinson's disease
Apr 1 - The Kid is Alright