April is Parkinson’s disease month: Michael J. Fox fights on

Eleven years ago, Fox could no longer hide a secret: he was living with Parkinson’s disease. Upon going public, he received an outpouring of affection and support. Ever since, Fox has been a tireless advocate to find treatment and a cure.

SAN DIEGO, April 27, 2012 – Michael J. Fox has been a household name since the early 1980s, when he played the role of Alex P. Keaton on the hit TV series “Family Ties.” Nearly one-third of all American households watched his show every week. Fox followed this up with movie roles and another successful comedy series as an adult, “Spin City.”

Eleven years ago, Fox could no longer hide a secret he had been keeping for nearly seven years at the time: he was living with Parkinson’s disease. Upon going public, he received an outpouring of affection and support. Ever since, Fox has been a tireless advocate for medical research to find treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s disease, and has established a radically new role model for funding research through his Michael J. Fox Foundation For Parkinson’s Research

In addition, he’s continued acting despite being told he might be able to work for perhaps 10 years at the most. He received his 12th Emmy nomination in 2011 for his ongoing role as attorney Louis Canning on “The Good Wife.” Canning plays up his Parkinson’s type symptoms to engender sympathy from juries and judges to win his cases. “We wanted to have a character who uses his disability cynically,” says The Good Wife co-creator Michelle King in a Parade Magazine interview. Canning is back this year and is expected to continue on the show.

Michael J. Fox continues acting, most recently in the role of attorney Louis Canning on the CBS series The Good Wife. Photo: CBS.

Fox has written two memoirs, “Lucky Man” in 2002; and “Always Looking Up: The Adventure of an Incurable Optimist” in 2009, both of which are best-sellers.

Fox has testified before Congress and has been a tireless advocate. The Fox Foundation has raised $285 million since 2000, the largest private funder of Parkinson’s research I the world in just over 10 years.

Fox has become the public face of Parkinson’s and focused attention on a condition that afflicts five million people around the world.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that results from degeneration of neurons in a region of the brain that controls movement. This degeneration creates a shortage of the brain signaling chemical dopamine, resulting in the impaired movement, twitches and tics of the disease. Parkinson’s disease was first formally described in a paper by a London physician in 1817. Descriptions of Parkinson’s type symptoms are in the first Chinese medical textbook published 2,500 years ago.

One half million people are affected by Parkinson’s disease in the United State. Fifty thousand more are diagnosed every year. As with other diseases that strike more frequently as people age, the number of cases is expected to increase as the Baby Boomer generation ages. The average age of onset is about 60, but so-called young onset Parkinsonians like Fox diagnosed under 40 are not unknown. Parksinson’s disease affects more men than women.

Seemingly many younger Parkinsonians are successful and driven personalities, like Fox. Like many of them, Fox was impatient with the slow progress of research. He established a more aggressive model of funding for his organization. Rather than waiting on full results of clinical trials, the Fox Foundation will fund promising research early and aggressively. Fox says his goal is to put his Foundation out of business in his lifetime, spending all of its money on finding a successful cure. 

Another innovative tool developed by the Fox Foundation is the brand new online Fox Trial Finder. Recruiting participants for clinical trials is a challenge. Thirty percent of all clinical trials fail to recruit even one participant, and 85 percent of trials finish late due to trouble with recruitment. Less than 10 percent of Parkinson’s disease patients take part in clinical trials. The result: it takes more time to treatments and a cure. The Fox Trial Finder tool allows the one million people with Parkinson’s disease in the U.S. to sign up and find the right trials for them, putting willingness into action to get results.

Learn more about the foundation’s work 

Learn more about the Fox Trial Finder

Ever the eternal optimist, Fox is convinced that treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s disease are right around the corner. Until then, he says he has no regrets about the path his life has taken, and he says life isn’t a battle or a fight. In a recent interview for Parade Magazine, Fox said “I’ve always thought, ‘If being short is my biggest problem, then life is a bowl of cherries.’ I still feel that way now, no matter what I face. I really love being alive. I love my family and my work. I love the opportunity I have to do things. That’s what happiness is.”

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

______

 

LifeCycles is intended to provide inspiration and information only. If you are considering any health, dietary, exercise or lifestyle changes based on the information provided here, please seek advice from a qualified professional.

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is President and CEO of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California. In addition to her positions as entrepreneur, health care executive, educator, radio segment contributor and media guest, Edwards-Tate is also a wife, daughter, and dog lover. Read more  LifeCycles in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow At Your Home Familycare on Facebook and on Twitter @AYHFamilycare.

 

Please credit “Laurie Edwards-Tate for Communities at WashingtonTimes.com” when quoting from or linking to this story.   

 

Copyright © 2012 by At Your Home Familycare


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Laurie Edwards-Tate

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging of America including the Baby Boomer generation, now being called the “Silver Tsunami.” It is the Baby Boomers who are rapidly redefining what aging and growing older means and looks like in America today.

Now celebrating its 28th year in business, AYHF is among San Diego County’s Top  Women-Owned Businesses and Fastest Growing Businesses, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service.  Edwards-Tate is a valued contributor to the public dialogue on current issues and challenges in the home care industry, and serves in leadership roles on the Home Care Aide Association of America Advisory Board and Private Duty Home Care Association Advisory Board, as well as the Home Care Aide Steering Committee of the California Association for Health Services at Home.

Edwards-Tate is frequently interviewed in the media on healthy aging, caregiving, and health care topics. 

 Follow Laurie and AYHF  at www.atyourhomefamilycare.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atyourhomefamilycare, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare

Contact Laurie Edwards-Tate

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