Northwestern Medicine Gets Moving for Parkinson's Disease

Northwestern Medicine
Neurosciences October 04, 2012
Movement is a part of everyday life for most Americans. From walking across a room to running and exercise to dancing with a spouse, the ability to move is something most people take for granted. Yet for the one million Americans living with Parkinson’s disease (PD), movement is not only limited by their disease, but it can also become a vital part of their therapy for managing the neurodegenerative disorder.

National Parkinson Foundation Moving Day FlyerTo help raise awareness of Parkinson’s, the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) is introducing Moving Day®*a Walk for Parkinson’s, to Chicago on Sunday, October 14.  Moving Day raises funds to aid research and supports local services for people living with Parkinson’s. The Northwestern Medicine® Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center, the only NPF Center of Excellence in Illinois, will be a beneficiary of this first-of-its-kind fundraiser in Chicago. The event will take place at Lincoln Park’s Grove 2 with registration starting at 8 a.m.

Moving Day not only features a 5K fun run and 5K walk, but it also celebrates the essential role that movement plays in managing the disease. “People with Parkinson’s lack dopamine in the brain which can cause tremor, slowness of movement, muscle stiffness and balance problems,” explained Tanya Simuni, MD, a movement disorders specialist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and director of the Northwestern Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center. “The disease progresses slowly in most people, but the symptoms worsen as dopamine levels drop. While today there is no cure for Parkinson’s, research has proven that movement and exercise helps to manage its symptoms and potentially even slow progression of the disease.” 

A main component of Moving Day is the NPF’s signature Movement Pavilion, which encourages participants to get moving through demonstrations of the many different therapeutic options available for people with Parkinson’s. “At Northwestern, we offer our patients a number of different movement-based therapies to manage their Parkinson’s including integrated exercise classes, tai chi, yoga, dance class, as well as music and art therapy,” said Diane Breslow, MSW, social worker and coordinator of the Northwestern Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center. “At Moving Day, participants will have an opportunity to try out these different therapies which will be led by our therapists who will guide demonstrations and answer questions.”

An estimated 1,500 people are expected to participate in Chicago’s first Moving Day. The Northwestern Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center will be represented by a team of patients, caregivers, families and friends, and healthcare professionals.

To contribute or sign up as a participant, visit the website for Moving Day Chicago. Funds raised will help establish a NPF chapter in Chicago and contribute to Parkinson’s support groups and classes at Northwestern’s NPF Center of Excellence.

As an NPF Center for Excellence, Northwestern Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders provides innovative, multidisciplinary care, while also conducting research to extend knowledge and treatment of movement disorders. There is an emphasis on education and support for patients, families, caregivers, healthcare providers and the community. Learn more about the Northwestern Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Centers.

NPF has a singular focus on improving the quality of care in Parkinson’s disease.  NPF programs reach more than one million people a year through its network of chapters, Centers of Excellence and 900 support groups.  Since 1982, NPF has funded more than $164 million in care, research and support services. Learn more about the National Parkinson Foundation* and theMoving Day event online or call toll-free 800.4PD.INFO.
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