HARTFORD- State Rep. David Rutigliano (R-123) and his legislative colleagues stood with Joseph Kelley of the Michael J. Fox Foundation and other advocates to increase awareness of Parkinson’s disease. April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month.
State Reps. Lonnie Reed (D-Branford), Lezlye Zupkus (R-Prospect), Edwin Vargas (D-Hartford), David Rutigliano (R-Trumbull) and Joseph Kelley of the Michael J. Fox Foundation spread Parkinson” Disease Awareness.
According to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Parkinson ’s disease affects one in 100 people over the age of 60. In the United State, 60,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year. There no test to diagnose Parkinson’s disease.
“We must understand that while the average age at onset is 60, people have been diagnosed as young as 18 and unfortunately there is no objective test, or biomarker, for Parkinson’s disease, so the rate of misdiagnosis can be relatively high, especially when the diagnosis is made by a non-specialist,” said Rep. Rutigliano. “This is a great way to spread the awareness of Parkinson’s disease. Let’s find a cure!”
Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the central nervous system that results from the loss of cells in various parts of the brain, including a region called the substantia nigra. The substantia nigra cells produce dopamine, a chemical messenger responsible for transmitting signals within the brain that allow for coordination of movement. Loss of dopamine causes neurons to fire without normal control, leaving patients less able to direct or control their movement. Parkinson’s disease is one of several diseases categorized by clinicians as movement disorders.
The exact cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown, although research points to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. If a continuum existed, with exclusively genetic causes at one end and exclusively environmental causes at the other, different Parkinson’s patients would likely fall at many different places along that continuum.
The estimates of the number of people living with the disease therefore vary, but recent research indicates that at least one million people in the United States, and more than five million worldwide, have Parkinson’s disease.