What’s New in Parkinson’s: July 2020

July 2020 Parkinson's News - Davis Phinney Foundation

As July draws to a close, we hope you’ve taken some time to get out and enjoy the sunshine, and maybe even joined us virtually for the Every Victory Counts Challenge! But since everyone needs a break every once in a while, we’ve rounded up some of the most important articles, podcasts, research, and living well stories that hit the news this month for you to peruse. Let us know if we missed anything important. Happy reading!

Parkinson’s Articles and Podcasts

  • An accidental discovery by researchers at the University of California, San Diego led to a remarkable new one-off treatment that cured Parkinson’s in mice. (The results were recently published in Nature.) By silencing the protein PTB, brain cells called astrocytes were effectively turned into neurons that grew and sent signals normally. Just one treatment completely restored motor function for the duration of the mice’s lifetimes, and while there is still a long way to go before this treatment can be considered for humans, this discovery is groundbreaking.
  • The Parkinson’s Foundation has announced preliminary results from their PD GENEration study, which offers free genetic testing and counseling to people with Parkinson’s. The results indicate the feasibility of testing the Parkinson’s population at large and have also demonstrated higher than expected levels of genetic mutations linked to Parkinson’s.
  • A new book written by four neurologists, entitled Ending Parkinson’s Disease, explores the links between Parkinson’s and the toxic chemicals that are all too present in our everyday lives, calling Parkinson’s “a man-made pandemic.”
  • New systems of administering medication to hospitalized people with Parkinson’s have been shown to be highly successful and feasible, presenting the opportunity for improved care.
  • The Michael J. Fox Foundation has a new podcast episode about how COVID-19 is affecting people with Parkinson’s in terms of disease, care, and community.
  • A new study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience showed that people with Parkinson’s have higher levels of plasma melatonin than their non-Parkinson’s counterparts and that increased plasma melatonin levels are linked to non-motor symptoms like sleep disorders, gastrointestinal dysfunction, and cardiovascular symptoms.
  • A study from Louisiana State University has highlighted the connection between increased rates of Parkinson’s and two herbicides and a pesticide in Louisiana.
  • Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have explored how even small amounts of α-synuclein cause damage to specific kinds of cell membranes.
  • A study published in Nature estimates that by 2037, over 1.6 million people will have Parkinson’s with an associated $79 billion economic burden, highlighting the importance of interventions to reduce the cost of living with Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s Therapies and Medications

  • Medtronic has announced FDA approval for its newest DBS therapy, the Percept PC Neurostimulator with BrainSense technology. This new device is able to collect data about brain signals, which allows for personalization of therapy and deeper insights into your own care.
  • ACADIA has announced that the FDA has accepted NUPLAZID for filing, which if approved, would be the first and only Parkinson’s-specific medication used to treat hallucinations and delusions associated with dementia-related psychosis.
  • A new study, recently published in Neurology, demonstrated that early DBS has long-term benefits on motor function as compared to standard therapies and reduces the need for more complex medications later in Parkinson’s progression.
  • After 10 years of research, a new study published in Neurology shows that long-term DBS does not increase the prevalence or incidence of developing dementia and is cognitively safe for people with Parkinson’s.
  • A new study published in Frontiers in Neurology has found that levodopa-carbidopa intestinal gel (LCIG) is a promising long-term therapy that significantly reduces OFF time people with Parkinson’s experience and decreases motor fluctuations.
  • NexStride, which uses a laser target to help create a guided path to assist in fluid walking, can be used by people with Parkinson’s to combat freezing of gait. Walk with Path, a UK-based start-up and 2020 MassChallenge winner, also offers therapies for people with Parkinson’s experiencing shuffling and freezing of gait.
  • Abbot has announced FDA approval for a new smartphone app that allows patients to personalize their therapies and improve access to remote telemedicine care. It is compatible with care for Parkinson’s, essential tremor, and chronic pain.
  • A new device, developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin, uses tiny cameras to track hand motions in order to identify early symptoms of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
  • Researchers from the Yonsei University College of Medicine have created a model using neurocognitive tests to evaluate people in the early stages of Parkinson’s in order to predict their risk of later dementia.

Parkinson’s Living Well Stories

    • Following in the footsteps of Rock Steady Boxing, the Wolfpack Boxing Club is keeping its members active and combining physical and speech therapy through communal boxing and social interaction despite COVID-19.
    • Personal trainer and Rock Steady Boxing coach Ryan Beck is continuing his 2,200-mile trek along the Appalachian Trail to raise awareness for Parkinson’s, and he is set to finish by the end of the month.
    • A woman shares her struggles with receiving an accurate Parkinson’s diagnosis due to her young age. She was initially told she was suffering from “mom fatigue.”
    • With free, virtual exercise classes continuing through the end of the year, the Michigan Parkinson’s Foundation is committed to helping people with Parkinson’s continue to live well even while under quarantine.
    • A study conducted by the Michael J. Fox Foundation has discovered that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it much more challenging for people with Parkinson’s to live well in terms of motor and non-motor symptoms as well as day-to-day activities and adhering to care plans.
    • Two 16-year-olds from Massachusetts are undertaking a huge bike ride in support of DopaFit, a local Parkinson’s gym.
    • Many of Britain’s top fashion designers are participating in a fundraising initiative from Cure3 to create unique works of art in support of Parkinson’s research.
    • The World Federation of Neurology is hosting World Brain Day 2020, featuring a number of distinguished speakers, to raise awareness for Parkinson’s.
    • A woman who was diagnosed with YOPD at 38 shares how her diagnosis taught her to ask for and accept help from others.
    • Rx Ballroom Dance offers free (currently online) dance classes to anyone diagnosed with a neurological or neurodegenerative disease in order to keep people moving and socially connected.

Want More Practical Articles Like This?

Much more can be found in our Every Victory Counts® manual. It’s packed with up-to-date information about everything Parkinson’s, plus an expanded worksheets and resources section to help you put what you’ve learned into action. Request your free copy of the Every Victory Counts manual by clicking the button below.

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Thank you to our 2020 Peak Partners, Amneal and Kyowa Kirin, with special support from Adamas, for helping us make printing, distributing, and shipping the Every Victory Counts manual possible.

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