Just Around the Corner to the Light of Day Concerts for PD

Bob Benjamin

PDF President Robin Elliott with Bob Benjamin (second from left) and Light of Day Foundation board members at 2014 Billboard Touring Awards.

This past weekend, the Light of Day Foundation kicked off its Winterfest concerts in Asbury Park, NJ, with proceeds benefitting Parkinson’s disease research, including the programs of PDF. Are you near New York, New Jersey or Philadelphia, PA? There’s still time to enjoy great music at the Winterfest (the concerts run until Monday, January 18), while supporting Parkinson’s research.

The concerts are in the 20th year, thanks to PDF’s longtime friend Bob Benjamin, who founded Light of Day back in 1996. Back then, shortly after Bob’s own diagnosis of young-onset PD, he threw a 40th birthday concert with friends and asked everyone to donate to PDF. He came to name the shows “Light of Day,” after Bruce Springsteen’s song of the same name, the lyrics of which reflect finding happiness through difficult circumstances.

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Aspirin for Parkinson’s: What Does It Mean?

MedicineCan an aspirin a day treat Parkinson’s disease (PD)? Not exactly, but the idea made headlines a few weeks ago, after scientists discovered that a key ingredient of aspirin might have potential to block the loss of brain cells in neurological diseases like PD and Alzheimer’s.

As with every science headline, PDF asks, “what does it mean for people with PD?” In this case, we asked Michael Schwarzschild, M.D., Ph.D., of MassGeneral Institute of Neurodegenerative Disease, a well-known PD scientist who has also studied aspirin and ibuprofen in relation to PD. Here are his insights.

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From Kirk: Will You 2x Your Donation to PDF?

hall_kirkI’m a person living with Parkinson’s disease. Because of investment from the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, I am also a trained Research Advocate and a member of the team ending PD. But we need your help.

After my diagnosis in 2008, I wasn’t sure how to make a difference. But by training with PDF’s Parkinson’s Advocates in Research (PAIR) program, I realized that patient advocates have a critical role to play. Now I’m working on the front lines with PDF-funded researchers to solve, treat and end PD.

But we need your donation to help our team, including Research Advocates like me, meet our goals. That’s why, this month, your support goes further. All donations made by Thursday, December 31, will be matched by the PDF Board of Directors and friends for up to $500,000! read more Read More

Back to Basics: Why Basic Research (and the Fava Bean) are Key to the Cure

research_vernaleo_beth_100x100Do you hope for new treatments for PD? At the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, we do. In fact, it’s the reason we exist. But how do we find them? And would you believe me if I told you the fava bean played an important role in the current gold-standard treatment for PD?

When we think of finding better PD treatments, we often think of clinical trials — the final stage of research before PD drugs come to market. But there’s a crucial step at the very beginning of the pipeline that makes new drugs possible — basic science.

Basic science looks at the building blocks of the brain, the cells and the chemical reactions that make it possible to walk, smile or even read a book. It also looks at what goes wrong when someone has PD. Often conducted in labs, it involves studying cells or animals to get a close-up view of how the brain works. Every drug approved by the FDA began with basic science.

Basic science is so important that PDF invests $4 million a year on it. In ‘Back to Basics,” we will show how basic science is helping PDF come closer to solving, treating and ending PD.

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Employment with PD: Working it Out

“Will Parkinson’s disease impact my career? Will I still be able to work?”

After a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, these are common yet difficult questions as individuals wonder how symptoms will progressively impact the future.

Kirk Gibson

Kirk Gibson, 1988 (Credit: AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy)

Recently, well-known public figures, including professional athletes and elected officials, have put the issue of employment with PD back in the headlines. Last month, former Major League Baseball player Kirk Gibson, who announced his PD diagnosis just a few months ago, was back in the headlines as he interviewed for a new position with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Several news articles questioned whether his Parkinson’s disease would affect his ability to do the job.

One week later, Geno Martini, Mayor of Sparks, NV, revealed that he had been diagnosed with PD in 2012.  Mayor Martini expressed how difficult it was for him to go public with the diagnosis.

Kirk Gibson and Mayor Martini may be in the public eye, but they are not alone. At the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF), we often hear questions about the same issues – when and if PD will affect someone’s ability to work, and when and if to reveal a diagnosis to an employer.  What should you know?

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From Gwyn: 2x Your Donation to the Nurses Ending Parkinson’s Disease

I’m a nurse specializing in Parkinson’s disease. Because of investment from the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, I’m helping to expand the team of nurses who can treat and end PD. And we need your help!

A few years ago, as a nursing educator, I was troubled to see that we were leaving the next generation of nurses unprepared to care for people with Parkinson’s disease — in fact, the textbook included only one sentence on PD! But with PDF’s $600,000 investment in health care leaders — including training to prepare the next generation of nurses — this is changing.

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