February 6, 2012
Nathaniel Stevens, program host, invited his wife, Janet, to help him present our program at
the February 6 West Milton Rotary Club meeting. Nathaniel and Janet gave a presentation on
Parkinson’s Disease, a disease by which they have been affected and felt deserved some time
and education, on the disease itself, and particularly the fact that it affects people of all ages,
not just the elderly as is often assumed. They spoke on the symptoms of the disease, the current
treatments available, and the impact on the life of a family dealing with Parkinson’s Disease.
Both Nathaniel and Janet spoke of the leadership that actor Michael J. Fox has provided for the
awareness and research for the treatment of Parkinson’s.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is chronic and progressive movement disorder, meaning that symptoms
continue and worsen over time. Nearly one million people in the United States are living with
Parkinson’s disease and worldwide about 5 million. Most individuals who develop Parkinson’s
disease are 60 years of age or older. Parkinson’s disease occurs in approximately 1% of
individuals aged 60 years and in about 4% of those aged 80 years. Since overall life expectancy
is rising, the number of individuals with Parkinson’s disease will increase in the future. Adult-
onset Parkinson’s disease is most common, but early-onset Parkinson’s disease (onset between
21-40 years), and juvenile-onset Parkinson’s disease (onset before age 21) also exist.
The cause is unknown, and although there is presently no cure, there are treatment options such
as medication and surgery to manage its symptoms.
The specific group of symptoms that an individual experiences varies from person to person.
Primary motor signs of Parkinson’s disease include the following: tremor of the hands, arms,
legs, jaw and face; bradykinesia or slowness of movement; rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and
trunk; and postural instability or impaired balance and coordination.
The president of the Milton-Union Interact Club was also in attendance, Michaela Litton.