The media response to the tragic suicide of the gifted actor Robin Williams has included much speculation about a possible connection between his recent diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease, or the medicines used to treat it, with the depression that apparently prompted him to take his life.
At the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, we are not privy to the details of his diagnosis, or the prescriptions he may have used to treat it. Nor do we have any information about any other drugs he is rumored to have used, or whether these may have contributed to his depression.
Photographer, Marcia Smith
The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation has long recognized the creative abilities that many people with Parkinson’s disease acquire when living with the disease. We even capture many of these expressions on our website with some of the best examples appearing in our acclaimed annual calendar (which you can now pre-order for 2015 here).
The following blog post from PDF Research Advocate Kirk Hall of Denver, CO is adapted from Kirk’s post on his own blog, shakypawsgrampa.blogspot.com.
Last year, I wrote a blog post about the World Parkinson Congress (WPC) in Montreal, which highlighted a, “movement toward more patient engagement in the PD world.” Before giving an update on patient engagement in my own community in Colorado, here is a brief excerpt from that post from October 2013.
Nearly two years ago, I wrote about how the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) appeared to be ready to approve a new drug for neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (NOH), which, basically, is a precipitous drop in blood pressure upon standing. (I recommend reading that blog as a good primer.) That drug, droxidopa with the brand name of Northera™, did not win approval because of outstanding concerns by FDA.
Fast-forward to this week, and FDA has now signaled that it will approve droxidopa for the treatment of NOH.
Credit: @steveford77 of Parkinson’s UK
Several weeks ago, in early December 2013, health leaders from the Group of Eight (G8) met in London, pledging to cure or modify the course of dementia by 2025.
This bold declaration is one that the Parkinson’s community is monitoring in light of the fact that about a quarter of people with PD are currently living with dementia.
What Should You Know?
- Dementia describes a range of symptoms related to memory decline. While Alzheimer’s disease makes up the majority of cases of dementia, there are several kinds, including Parkinson’s disease-dementia (PD-D).
The effort to cure diseases like Parkinson’s disease is on the minds of many people during this time of year. We are often traveling home to see loved ones where we learn about new diagnoses or new stages in the disease that they battle, or we are remembering those who bravely fought their battle with Parkinson’s, yet lost.
It is understandable, therefore, why there is a push to fund only research that is the closest to bringing about a cure, so-called translational research.