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Parkinson’s disease


Rev. Jesse Jackson has revealed he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

In a statement released to media on November 17, the civil rights activist said: “My family and I began to notice changes about three years ago.”

“After a battery of tests, my physicians identified the issue as Parkinson’s disease, a disease that bested my father.”

Parkinson’s is an incurable neurological disease that can cause tremors and affect coordination.

The 76-year-old said: “Recognition of the effects of this disease on me has been painful, and I have been slow to grasp the gravity of it.”

Image source Wikimedia

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Jesse Jackson also said the diagnosis was “not a stop sign but rather a signal that I must make lifestyle changes and dedicate myself to physical therapy in hopes of slowing the disease’s progression”.

He fought for civil rights alongside Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s. He was twice a candidate for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, in 1984 and 1988, and his son Jesse Jackson Jr. is a former congressman.

Jesse Jackson has remained an activist into later life, and spoke up last year in the wake of a spate of police shootings of black men, saying they were just one expression of a “mean-spirited division” taking hold of the country.

About 60,000 new Parkinson’s diagnoses are made every year in the US, where the disease affects an estimated one million people.

Jesse Jackson said: “I am far from alone.

“God continues to give me new opportunities to serve. This diagnosis is personal but it is more than that. It is an opportunity for me to use my voice to help in finding a cure for a disease that afflicts seven to 10 million worldwide.”


Researchers believe they have found a way to treat and perhaps reverse Parkinson’s disease, by making replacement cells to mend the damaged brain.

They say human brain cells can be coaxed to take over the job of the ones that are destroyed in Parkinson’s.

Tests in mice with Parkinson-like symptoms showed that the therapy appeared to ease the condition.

However, many more studies are needed before similar tests can begin in people.

Scientists say the research published in Nature Biotechnology is hugely promising, although at a very early stage.

They still have to check if the treatment is safe, and whether the converted cells, which started out in life as astrocytes, can truly function like the dopamine-producing neurons lost in Parkinson’s.

Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder and the most common movement disorder

People with Parkinson’s lack enough dopamine because some of the brain cells that make it have died.

It is not known what kills the cells, but this loss causes debilitating symptoms, such as tremor and difficulty in walking and moving.

Doctors can prescribe drugs to help manage the symptoms, but cannot treat the cause.

Researchers have been looking for ways to replace the damaged dopamine neurons by injecting new ones into the brain.

However, the international team who carried out the latest work used a different approach that does not require a cell transplant.

They used a cocktail of small molecules to reprogram cells already present in the brain.

When they mixed a sample of human astrocytes with the cocktail in their laboratory, they produced cells that closely resembled dopamine neurons, although not a perfect match.

Next, they gave the same cocktail to sick mice.

The treatment appeared to work, reprogramming their brain cells and lessening their Parkinson’s symptoms.


A new study, published in the journal Cell, suggests Parkinson’s disease may be caused by bacteria living in the gut.

Scientists say the findings could eventually lead to new ways of treating the brain disorder, such as drugs to kill gut bugs or probiotics.

In Parkinson’s disease the brain is progressively damaged, leading to patients experiencing a tremor and difficulty moving.

Californian researchers used mice genetically programmed to develop Parkinson’s disease as they produced very high levels of the protein alpha-synuclein, which is associated with damage in the brains of Parkinson’s patients.

Experts found that only those animals with bacteria in their stomachs developed symptoms. Sterile mice remained healthy.

Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder and the most common movement disorder

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder and the most common movement disorder

Further tests showed transplanting bacteria from Parkinson’s patients to mice led to more symptoms than bacteria taken from healthy people.

Dr. Timothy Sampson, one of the researchers at the California Institute of Technology, said: “This was the <<eureka>> moment, the mice were genetically identical, the only difference was the presence or absence of gut microbiota.

“Now we were quite confident that gut bacteria regulate, and are even required for, the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.”

Researchers believe the bacteria are releasing chemicals that over-activate parts of the brain, leading to damage.

The bacteria can break down fiber into short-chain fatty acids. It is thought an imbalance in these chemicals triggers the immune cells in the brain to cause damage.

Dr. Sarkis Mazmanian said: “We have discovered for the first time a biological link between the gut microbiome and Parkinson’s disease.

“More generally, this research reveals that a neurodegenerative disease may have its origins in the gut and not only in the brain as had been previously thought.

“The discovery that changes in the microbiome may be involved in Parkinson’s disease is a paradigm shift and opens entirely new possibilities for treating patients.”

Parkinson’s disease is currently incurable.

The findings need to be confirmed in humans, but the researchers hope that drugs that work in the digestive system or even probiotics may become new therapies for the disease.

The trillions of bacteria that live in the gut are hugely important to health, so wiping them out completely is not an option.


Queen of Knitwear Sonia Rykiel died on August 25 at the age of 86.

The French fashion designer had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for some time before her death.

Her daughter, Nathalie Rykiel, said: “My mother died at 05:00 this morning at her home in Paris from the effects of Parkinson’s.”

Nathalie Rykiel is also the managing and artistic director of the Sonia Rykiel fashion label.

French President Francois Hollande praised Sonia Rykiel as “a pioneer”.

Francois Hollande said of Sonia Rykiel, whose relaxed striped knitwear was seen as a shift away from more formal suits: “She invented not just a style but an attitude, a way of living and being, and offered a freedom of movement.”

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

Jean-Marc Loubier, chairman and chief executive of First Heritage Brands, the parent company of the Sonia Rykiel label, said: “It is a sad day but Sonia Rykiel leaves behind her an extraordinary legacy.”

He added that she had “helped women and society evolve.”

Sonia Rykiel was born Sonia Flis in Paris in May 1930, to a Romanian father and Russian mother.

She started her career as a window dresser in 1948, with her first foray into design being when she knitted herself maternity dresses after marrying Sam Rykiel, the owner of a Paris boutique.

Sonia Rykiel made her breakthrough in 1962 with the so-called poor boy sweater, which had long sleeves and a fitted shape.

Elle magazine then featured teenage pop star Francoise Hardy wearing a red and pink striped Rykiel sweater on its cover in December 1963.

Brigitte Bardot was later photographed in a Rykiel creation, with Audrey Hepburn among her other famous fans.

Sonia Rykiel opened her first ready-to-wear store on Paris’s Left Bank in 1968 and her fashion empire went on to include menswear, children’s clothing, accessories and perfumes.

According to her website, Sonia Rykiel “urged women to be eccentric, seductive, mysterious, and to create their own style”.

During her career Sonia Rykiel developed new techniques like inside-out stitching and no-hem finishings, with other star pieces including embroidered knitted tops and rhinestone-studded berets.

Sonia Rykiel wrote several novels and also featured in 1994 movie Pret-a-Porter, Robert Altman’s satirical take on the fashion industry.

In 2012, she revealed she had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s 15 years earlier.

The designer had initially kept the condition private but wrote about her diagnosis in a book when her symptoms became too difficult to disguise, fashion site WWD said.

Sonia Rykiel is survived by her daughter Nathalie and son Jean-Philippe.


Muhammad Ali died of “septic shock due to unspecified natural causes”, his family has announced.

The boxing legend, formerly known as Cassius Clay, died on June 3 at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. He was 74.

Muhammad Ali had been suffering from a respiratory illness, a condition that was complicated by Parkinson’s disease.

A public funeral will be held for the boxer on June 9 in his hometown of Louisville in Kentucky.

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has been taken to hospital after falling unconscious at home just days after his frail appearance at a funeral for Joe Frazier

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has been taken to hospital after falling unconscious at home just days after his frail appearance at a funeral for Joe Frazier

The family spokesman, Bob Gunnell said: “He was a citizen of the world and would want people from all walks of life to be able to attend his funeral.”

Former President Bill Clinton is among those who will give a eulogy at the service, and was one of many prominent global figures who paid tribute to Ali on June 4, saying he lived a life “full of religious and political convictions that led him to make tough choices and live with the consequences”.

The legendary Brazilian footballer, Pele, said the sporting universe had suffered a huge loss.

President Barack Obama said: “Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it.”

Soon after retiring, rumors began to circulate about the state of Muhammad Ali’s health. His speech had become slurred, he shuffled and he was often drowsy.

Parkinson’s syndrome was eventually diagnosed but Muhammad Ali continued to make public appearances, receiving warm welcomes wherever he traveled.

One of the world’s best-known sportsmen, boxing legend Muhammad Ali, has died at the age of 74, a family spokesman has confirmed.

The former world heavyweight boxing champion died at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, after being admitted on June 2.

Muhammad Ali was suffering from a respiratory illness, a condition that was complicated by Parkinson’s disease.

The funeral will take place in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, his family said in a statement.

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Muhammad Ali shot to fame by winning light-heavyweight gold at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

Nicknamed “The Greatest”, he beat Sonny Liston in 1964 to win his first world title and became the first boxer to capture a world heavyweight title on three separate occasions.

Muhammad Ali eventually retired in 1981, having won 56 of his 61 fights.

Crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated, Muhammad Ali was noted for his pre- and post-fight talk and bold fight predictions just as much as his boxing skills inside the ring.Muhammad Ali pneumonia

He was also a civil rights campaigner and poet who transcended the bounds of sport, race and nationality.

Asked how he would like to be remembered, Muhammad Ali once said: “As a man who never sold out his people. But if that’s too much, then just a good boxer. I won’t even mind if you don’t mention how pretty I was.”

Muhammad Ali turned professional immediately after the Rome Olympics and rose through the heavyweight ranks, delighting crowds with his showboating, shuffling feet and lightning reflexes.

British champion Henry Cooper came close to stopping Cassius Clay, as he was still known, when they met in a non-title bout in London in 1963.

Henry Cooper floored Cassius Clay with a left hook, but Clay picked himself up off the canvas and won the fight in the next round when a severe cut around Cooper’s left eye forced the Englishman to retire.

In February 1964, Cassius Clay stunned the boxing world by winning his first world heavyweight title at the age of 22.

He predicted he would beat Sonny Liston, who had never lost, but few believed he could do it.

Yet, after six stunning rounds, Sonny Liston quit on his stool, unable to cope with his brash, young opponent.

At the time of his first fight with Sonny Liston, Cassius Clay was already involved with the Nation of Islam, a religious movement whose stated goals were to improve the spiritual, mental, social, and economic condition of African Americans in the US.

In contrast to the inclusive approach favored by civil rights leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, the Nation of Islam called for separate black development and was treated by suspicion by the American public.

Muhammad Ali eventually converted to Islam, ditching what he perceived was his “slave name” and becoming Cassius X and then Muhammad Ali.

In 1967, Muhammad Ali took the momentous decision of opposing the US war in Vietnam, a move that was widely criticized by his fellow Americans.

Muhammad Ali refused to be drafted into the US military and was subsequently stripped of his world title and boxing license. He would not fight again for nearly four years.

After his conviction for refusing the draft was overturned in 1971, Muhammad Ali returned to the ring and fought in three of the most iconic contests in boxing history, helping restore his reputation with the public.

Muhammad Ali was handed his first professional defeat by Joe Frazier in the “Fight of the Century” in New York on March 8, 1971, only to regain his title with an eighth-round knockout of George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle” in Kinshasa, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) on October 30, 1974.

He fought Joe Frazier for a third and final time in the Philippines on October 1, 1975, coming out on top in the “Thrilla in Manila” when Frazier failed to emerge for the 15th and final round.

Six defenses of his title followed before Muhammad Ali lost on points to Leon Spinks in February 1978, although he regained the world title by the end of the year, avenging his defeat at the hands of the 1976 Olympic light-heavyweight champion.

Muhammad Ali’s career ended with one-sided defeats by Larry Holmes in 1980 and Trevor Berbick in 1981, many thinking he should have retired long before.

He fought a total of 61 times as a professional, losing five times and winning 37 bouts by knockout.

Soon after retiring, rumors began to circulate about the state of Muhammad Ali’s health. His speech had become slurred, he shuffled and he was often drowsy.

Parkinson’s Syndrome was eventually diagnosed but Muhammad Ali continued to make public appearances, receiving warm welcomes wherever he travelled.

Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic cauldron at the 1996 Games in Atlanta and carried the Olympic flag at the opening ceremony for the 2012 Games in London.


Maurice White, the founder of soul group Earth, Wind & Fire, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 74.

According to his brother, Maurice White died in his sleep on February 4.

The singer suffered from Parkinson’s disease.

Maurice White’s band had a series of hits including September, Boogie Wonderland, Shining Star and After the Love has Gone.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1992 but his condition was reported to have got worse in recent months.

Earth, Wind & Fire were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, and Maurice White was individually inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010.

Popularly known by his nickname of Reese, Maurice White worked with various well-known recording artists such as The Emotions, Barbra Streisand, Cher and Neil Diamond.Maurice White dead at 74

Earth, Wind & Fire have sold more than 90 million albums worldwide.

Verdine White, also a member of the band, told The Associated Press on February 4: “My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep.

“While the world has lost another great musician and legend, our family asks that our privacy is respected as we start what will be a very difficult and life changing transition in our lives. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes.”

A former session drummer, Maurice White formed a band called Salty Peppers in the Chicago area in the late 1960s.

He subsequently moved to Los Angeles, disposing of all of the band members except his brother Verdine. The band was renamed Earth, Wind & Fire after the three elements in his astrological chart.

Many of the group’s earlier hits were characterized by Bailey’s bright falsetto voice.

Earth, Wind & Fire is perhaps best known for its exuberant, horn-driven mix of jazz, funk, gospel and Big Band music played at concerts where they performed in glitzy costumes underneath multi-colored lights. They played at many top venues including the Super Bowl and the White House.


According to a Canadian study, brain cells in Parkinson’s disease exhaust themselves and die prematurely, burning out like an “overheating motor”.

Researchers say the findings, published in Current Biology, might help explain why only small parts of the brain are affected in the disease.

Parkinson’s is caused by a loss of nerve cells in certain areas of the brain – but why these cells are vulnerable has been a mystery.

Scientists from the University of Montreal studied the disease in mice cells.Brain cells Parkinsons disease

They found, unlike other similar brain cells, neurons most often involved in Parkinson’s disease were complex and had many more branches.

The cells also had much higher energy requirements, producing more waste products as they met this need.

Researchers suggest it is the accumulation of these waste products that triggers cell death.

Prof, Louis-Eric Trudeau said: “Like a motor constantly running at high speed, these neurons need to produce an incredible amount of energy to function.

“They appear to exhaust themselves and die prematurely.”

Researchers hope this finding may help create better experimental models of Parkinson’s and identify new treatments.

They suggest, for example, that medication could one day be developed to help reduce the energy requirement of cells or increase their energy efficiency.


George Bush Sr. has been admitted to hospital after breaking a bone in his neck in a fall at his home in Maine.

The former president’s spokesman, Jim McGarth, said he was in a stable condition and his hospital stay was expected to be brief.George Bush Sr breaks neck bone

George H.W. Bush, who has Parkinson’s disease and cannot use his legs, celebrated his 90th birthday last year with a sky dive.

The 91-year-old had to go to hospital at the end of last year with shortness of breath.

Jim McGrath said George H.W. Bush, the oldest of the four living former US presidents, would need to wear a neck brace following his fall on July 15 in Kennebunkport.


According to Swedish scientists, stem cells can be used to heal the damage in the brain caused by Parkinson’s disease.

They said their study on rats heralded a “huge breakthrough” towards developing effective treatments.

There is no cure for the disease, but medication and brain stimulation can alleviate symptoms.

Parkinson’s disease is caused by the loss of nerve cells in the brain that produce the chemical dopamine ,which helps to control mood and movement.

Stem cells can be used to heal brain damages caused by Parkinson's disease

Stem cells can be used to heal brain damages caused by Parkinson’s disease

To simulate Parkinson’s, Lund University researchers killed dopamine-producing neurons on one side of the rats’ brains.

They then converted human embryonic stem cells into neurons that produced dopamine.

These were injected into the rats’ brains, and the researchers found evidence that the damage was reversed.

There have been no human clinical trials of stem-cell-derived neurons, but the researchers said they could be ready for testing by 2017.

Malin Parmar, associate professor of developmental and regenerative neurobiology, said: “It’s a huge breakthrough in the field [and] a stepping stone towards clinical trials.”

A similar method has been tried in a limited number of patients.

It involved taking brain tissue from multiple aborted foetuses to heal the brain.

Clinical trials were abandoned after mixed results, but about a third of the patients had foetal brain cells that functioned for 25 years.

Using embryonic stem cells may be preferable, as it is easier to get hold of the large numbers of cells needed for transplant by growing them in the laboratory.

It also opens up the possibility of using less ethically charged sources of stem cells, such as those made from adult tissue.

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A new research has found that farm workers and people living in rural or agricultural communities tend to suffer from higher rates of Parkinson’s.

Health experts have long suspected a link between common pesticides and Parkinson’s disease.

Farm workers and people living in rural or agricultural communities tend to suffer from higher rates of Parkinson's

Farm workers and people living in rural or agricultural communities tend to suffer from higher rates of Parkinson’s

The new research reveals how crop chemicals and your genes may come together to increase your Parkinson’s risk – and how you might one day be able to safeguard yourself.

The research, appearing in the journal Cell, outlines first-of-its-kind lab work involving stem cells. After creating the type of mutated brain cell that past studies have linked with greater Parkinson’s risk, the research team exposed that mutation to the common farm pesticides paraquat and maneb.

“Even at very low concentrations, the pesticides killed these nerve cells, which shows how they would cause Parkinson’s,” explains study coauthor Stuart A. Lipton, MD, PhD, of Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.