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When Life Gives You Parkinson’s podcast: Ending Parkinson’s

'Ending Parkinson's Disease: A Prescription for Action' is available now.
'Ending Parkinson's Disease: A Prescription for Action' is available now. Larry Gifford

On this episode of When Life Gives You Parkinson’s, I talk with professor of neurology Ray Dorsey from the University of Rochester and Todd Sherer, the CEO of the Michael J. Fox Foundation. These are two of the four authors behind a new book called Ending Parkinson’s Disease: A prescription for action.

Dorsey, Sherer and co-authors Michael S. Okun, MD at the University of Florida, and Bastiaan Bloem, MD and PhD from the Netherlands, each approach Parkinson’s disease from a specific point of view.

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Dorsey is a telehealth and home health-care advocate who has been using technology to see patients remotely for more than a decade. He directs the Center for Health and Technology, which offers free care to anyone in New York who has Parkinson’s disease. His mission is to offer his services to anyone, anywhere.

READ MORE: When Life Gives You Parkinson’s podcast — this might be the closest thing to a cure

Sherer is a neuroscientist who was part of a team that found the link between pesticides and Parkinson’s. Okun is a pioneer of surgical treatments for Parkinson’s. Bloem is the co-creator of ParkinsonNet, the world’s largest integrated care program for Parkinson’s disease. It provides customized and individualized networked treatment, which can include nutritional advice, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, exercise, clever IT, community and hope.

Their book clearly portrays Parkinson’s disease as a formidable antagonist. They describe Parkinson’s as a “man-made pandemic” that thrives today, with a diagnosis rate that doubles every 25 years, with no known cure and not enough urgency to slow the spread.

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The authors point to research that suggests Parkinson’s disease was fuelled initially by the industrial revolution and continues to be diagnosed at a rate greater than the rates of aging or population growth due to pesticides that attack the nervous systems of bugs (and people), solvents, contaminated well water and head trauma.

READ MORE: When Life Gives You Parkinson’s podcast — Stem Cells, Parkinson’s and ‘Bad Batch’

The authors conclude Parkinson’s disease may be man-made. However, just as humans contributed to the rise of Parkinson’s in the 19th and 20th centuries, we can now work together to eradicate the disease. Readers are called to action by focusing on prevention, advocacy, care and treatment.

The book concludes with a list of 25 concrete steps we can and should take to reduce the worldwide toll of this disease. The list includes banning specific pesticides and solvents, and cleaning up contaminated sites, which will all take vigorous lobbying of the governments of many countries.

But there are things they suggest you can do today to reduce your risk of getting Parkinson’s: use a water filter, eat a Mediterranean diet, vigorously exercise for four hours a week, get involved with research, and if you already have Parkinson’s, be loud and share your story.

If you have a comment or question about the podcast, you can email us at parkinsonspod@curiouscast.ca.

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We invite you to add your voice to the show and leave a message for us here.

Follow me, Larry Gifford

Twitter: @ParkinsonsPod

Facebook: Facebook.com/ParkinsonsPod

Instagram: @parkinsonspod

Follow co-host and producer Niki Reitmayer

Twitter: @Niki_Reitmayer

Special thanks to…

Thank you to my wife and partner in Parkinson’s Rebecca Gifford.

Also, thank you to the following contributors and guests:

Ray Dorsey, MD – follow him on Twitter @RayDorseyNeuro

Todd Sherer, PhD, CEO of the Michael J. Fox Foundation

Our presenting partner is Parkinson Canada.

The organization’s toll-free hotline is 1-800-565-3000.

Follow Parkinson Canada on Twitter: @ParkinsonCanada

Our content and promotional partners

Parkinson’s IQ + You – A free series of Parkinson’s events from the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

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Spotlight YOPD – The only Parkinson’s organization dedicated to raising awareness for young onset Parkinson’s disease and funds for the Cure Parkinson’s Trust.

WPC2022 – Save the date for the sixth World Parkinson Congress, June 7 to 10, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain. The only inclusive scientific conference opens its doors to people with Parkinson’s and families.

Links we mentioned and source material for the show:

Ending Parkinson’s Disease book official website

Parkinson’s Disease Care New York  – Free care for New Yorkers with Parkinson’s disease

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