March 23, 2019 – Parkinson’s Weekly Update

This is a recap of the most interesting news and discussions related to Parkinson’s Disease this past week.

In completely made-up financial news, button industry stocks were down sharply after the Michael J. Fox Foundation announced a button boycott, as part of new initiative to tell the world to stop making products that people with Parkinson’s hate. Find out what industry is the next target in our exclusive special report. Also featured this week:

  • “I love the smell of Parkinson’s in the morning!” The woman who can smell Parkinson’s is back in the news, with research study results confirming that a unique odor is associated with concentrations of certain chemicals on the skin of people with Parkinson’s (honestly, we are not making this up);
  • The World Parkinson Congress has selected their top 12 Parkinson’s videos in a competition for this year’s conference, and you have an opportunity to vote for a favorite in the WPC’s “People’s Choice Award”;
  • A surgeon in China performed a Deep Brain Stimulation surgery over a 5G network from 1,800 miles away to avoid ever having to be face-to-face with his patient;
  • A Harvard study links vigorous exercise and fasting with a chemical trigger that induces a cellular process resulting in the elimination of excess or waste proteins;
  • See what non-motor symptoms of PD you might be missing out on with this handy reference guide;
  • Watch our video that highlights strength training exercises to target tremor prone muscles focusing on the forearm, wrist and grip;
  • Plus, we’re always on the lookout for news stories that help educate the public about Parkinson’s Disease exercise programs . This week, these stories take us to Rock Steady Boxing affiliates in Toronto, Asheville NC, Huntsville AL and North Attleboro MA, and an inspiring independent boxing gym in Salmon Arm, British Columbia.
  1. In completely made-up financial news, button industry stocks were down sharply after the Michael J. Fox Foundation announced a boycott of all clothing with buttons, as part of new initiative to tell the world to stop making products that people with Parkinson’s loathe and detest. Anticipating further boycotts, portfolio managers are telling investors to also divest of shoelace stocks, and to invest heavily in protest buttons and velcro. A foundation spokesperson issued a warning of future activism: “Squishy water bottles…those ones that  are impossible to open without spilling water all over yourself…which makes it look like you wet yourself…you’re next! People with Parkinson’s are mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it any more!” Of course, this story is a complete fabrication, but the hatred…oh, it’s real…and it’s festering…festering like a boil…manufacturers of buttons and squishy water bottles, your day of reckoning draws nigh. Retribution will be swift! This is all a long wind up for our song of the week…a Parkinson’s inspired ditty…“Buttons Kick My ***”. https://parkinson.fit/forums/topic/thing-we-hate-buttons-shoelaces-and-squishy-water-bottles/
  2. Fee-fi-fo-fum, this woman can smell the musky smell of Parkinson’s. (This is a rerun, but it’s back because the official study results have been released.) Les Milne was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1995 at the age of 45. His wife, Joy, had noticed that he had a woody, musky odor…something that had started more than 10 years prior to this diagnosis. Back then, she had started suggesting to him that he wasn’t showering frequently enough or brushing his teeth enough. Finally, like many wives, she gave up trying to improve his hygiene. In 2012, 17 years after the PD diagnosis, the couple were at a Parkinson’s awareness conference when Joy realized that she was surrounded by people that smelled like her husband. Les passed away in 2015, but researchers at the University of Manchester (UK) dubbed Joy the “super smeller” and followed the scent in search of biomarkers that can be used for early detection. While there is still no cure for Parkinson’s, early detection may help researchers discover how the disease begins. And those diagnosed early may be able to benefit from earlier exercise intervention to better preserve motor function. This story is an improbable journey…along the way, we discover that it’s not excessive sweat, it’s excessive sebum…and why people with Parkinson’s are more likely  to have dandruff.  https://parkinson.fit/forums/topic/the-woman-who-can-smell-parkinsons-why-you-have-dandruff-and-biomarkers/
    Also recommended, additional detailed coverage from the Science of Parkinson’s website: https://scienceofparkinsons.com/2019/03/20/smell/
  3. The World Parkinson Congress takes place every 3 years. This year it will be in Kyoto, Japan from June 4-7, 2019. There is a video competition, where people with Parkinson’s create videos to increase PD awareness. The top 12 videos have been selected, and you have an opportunity to watch them and vote for a favorite in the WPC’s “People’s Choice Award”: https://parkinson.fit/world-parkinson-congress-2019-video-competition/
  4. People in China apparently don’t have to put up with the likes of Verizon or AT&T.  A surgeon in China performed Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery remotely over a 5G network on a patient with Parkinson’s Disease who was over 1,800 miles a way. Unfortunately, the surgeon went over his data allowance, and he has to perform three more surgeries to pay off the overage charges. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6821613/Surgeon-performs-world-remote-brain-surgery-patient-1-800-MILES-AWAY.html
  5. Psychology Today published an intriguing article “Exercise and Fasting Linked to Brain Detox”, which provides a layman’s explanation of a recent Harvard research study “26S Proteasomes are rapidly activated by diverse hormones and physiological states that raise cAMP and cause Rpn6 phosphorylation”. (With a title like that, you know the study is a real page turner!) The Harvard study showed that both fasting and vigorous exercise significantly increased the levels of cAMP, a chemical trigger that induces a cellular process resulting in the elimination of excess or waste proteins. This is interesting because Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases are linked to excess accumulation of misfolded proteins. More research is obviously required, but intermittent fasting might not be such a crazy idea after all: https://parkinson.fit/forums/topic/why-i-am-experimenting-with-intermittent-fasting-to-see-if-it-helps-parkinsons/#post-106523
  6. The Parkinson’s Foundation published a web page detailing common non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s. The list is so long, we’re confident that you don’t have them all. So take solace in looking over the list, and realizing that things could be worse. (Seriously, it’s quite an interesting list.)  https://parkinson.org/blog/tips/Non-motor-Symptoms-Whats-New-Part-1
  7. Back at Parkinson.FIT HQ, we produced a video highlighting strength training exercises for the forearm, wrist and grip, in an effort to target tremor-prone muscles that are frequently overlooked in workouts. https://parkinson.fit/strength-training-for-pd-forearm-wrist-and-grip/
  8. Finally, we’re always on the lookout for news stories that help educate the public about Parkinson’s Disease exercise programs .

Previous Week – March 16, 2019