Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Parkinson’s disease patients turn to dance

Phyllis Valentine never trained as a dancer, but she fondly remembers whirling around the room doing the polka with her father as a young girl.

She also remembers watching her father’s steady deterioration after he was found to have Parkinson’s disease, a debilitating neuromuscular condition that eventually robs patients of the ability to perform even the most basic movements without great difficulty. So when, at the age of 75, Valentine received a similar diagnosis, she figured any dancing was solidly in her past.

“The doctor told me I was in the early stages,” says the former New Yorker, a petite woman with an irreverent sense of humor who lacks the tremor that is the most recognizable sign of a Parkinson’s patient. “But I was scared to death.”

Parkinson’s, which results from the dying of brain cells that produce dopamine, a chemical messenger critical to movement, can result in tremors, stiffness, difficulty with speech and general movement impairment.

About 1 million American have the disease and approximately 60,000 new cases are diagnosed annually.

Paradoxical as it may seem to pair movement-restricted patients with artists who make a living from their flexible and athletic bodies, David Levanthal — the MMDG dancer who has become the unofficial authority on Dance for PD — says both bring “a superconsciousness to movement.” The physical and mental discipline a dancer requires to execute challenging steps travel along the same brain pathways that a Parkinson’s patient must exercise to retain even the most pedestrian movement

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Deep said...

Nice article. Parkinson disease can be treated with natural treatments. Parkinson disease patients need help. We should support them.
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Parkinson’s disease is an incurable, degenerative neurological condition that causes mobility issues due to excessive tremors, muscle stiffness, and impaired balance. Research shows that a regular exercise program can improve mobility and improve a patient’s quality of life if they suffer from Parkinson’s.

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