Ms. Katharine Leathers
Mrs. Amy Tull
I am participating in the Moving Day Pittsburgh Walk, benefiting the National Parkinson Foundation Western Pennsylvania Chapter on September 28th, 2013.
About Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. The motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease result from the death of dopamine-generating cells in the substantia nigra, a region of the midbrain; the cause of this cell death is unknown. Early in the course of the disease, the most obvious symptoms are movement-related; these include shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty with walking and gait. Later, thinking and behavioral problems may arise, with dementia commonly occurring in the advanced stages of the disease, whereas depression is the most common psychiatric symptom. Other symptoms include sensory, sleep and emotional problems. Parkinson's disease is more common in older people, with most cases occurring after the age of 50.
Modern treatments are effective at managing the early motor symptoms of the disease, mainly through the use of levodopa and dopamine agonists. As the disease progresses and dopaminergic neurons continue to be lost, these drugs eventually become ineffective at treating the symptoms and at the same time produce a complication called dyskinesia, marked by involuntary writhing movements. Diet and some forms of rehabilitation have shown some effectiveness at alleviating symptoms. Surgery and deep brain stimulation have been used to reduce motor symptoms as a last resort in severe cases where drugs are ineffective. Research directions include investigations into new animal models of the disease and of the potential usefulness of gene therapy, stem cell transplants and neuroprotective agents. Medications to treat non-movement-related symptoms of PD, such as sleep disturbances and emotional problems, also exist.
Why Get Involved
The National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) continues to bring help and hope to the estimated one million people in the United States, four to six million worldwide, who are living with Parkinson’s disease. NPF is the only organization with a singular focus on improving the quality of care in Parkinson’s disease. NPF programs reach more than one million people a year through its network of 39 chapters, 43 Centers of Excellence and 900 support groups. Since 1982, NPF has funded more than $172 million in care, research and support services.
Please help me reach my fundraising goal to support the vital work of the National Parkinson Foundation.
I am walking in honor of my grandfather, Ken Reichard.