Pleasejoin the Penn Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center (PD&MDC) atPAH as we recognize April as Parkinson’s Awareness month. Stop by the ElmGarden Café every Friday in April, from 12 pm to 2 pm to learn aboutParkinson’s disease and how you can help.


Shownhere from left to right are, volunteer Ann Connor, Outreach Coordinator CandaceSyres, and Volunteers Lillian Wright, Charles Maddock and Elizabeth Martin. 

Did you know?
ThePD&MDC was established in 1982, at The Graduate Hospital (now Penn Medicine Rittenhouse at 18thand Lombard Streets) by Howard I.Hurtig, MD, chief of Neurology at PAH, co-director of the PD&MDC, andElliott Professor of Neurology in the Perelman School of Medicine at theUniversity of Pennsylvania, and MatthewB. Stern, MD, director of the PD&MDC and the Parker Family Professor ofNeurology in the Perelman School of Medicine. Together, Doctors Hurtig andStern wanted to provide comprehensive care to patients with Parkinson’s diseaseand other parkinsonian syndromes and movement disorders such as dystonia,Tourette’s syndrome and Huntington’s disease. The Center moved in 1997, to itscurrent location on PAH’s campus at 330 South Ninth Street. 

Combined, the PD&MDC and Center for Neurodegenerative DiseaseResearch at the University of Pennsylvania is a Morris K. Udall Parkinson’sDisease Research Center of Excellence designated by the National Institute ofNeurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), joining 12 other distinguishedacademic institutions in the US with this designation. Clinical and basicresearch scientists at the Penn Udall Center are conducting research tounderstand and develop better treatments for the cognitive impairment anddementia associated with Parkinson’s disease. Penn is the only national Udall Centerto focus specifically on cognitive functions in Parkinson’s.

Sinceits inception, the PD&MDC has grown into one of the dominant clinicalprograms of its kind in the nation, equally committed to research, professionaland community education, and psycho-social support for patients and families. Recognized by the National Parkinson Foundation as one ofits 45 worldwide Centers of Excellence, the PD&MDC is one of the largest ofits kind in the country and is pre-eminent inthe Philadelphia region, providing care to approximately 2,000 patients eachyear. The PD&MDC partners with the Philadelphia Veteran’s AdministrationMedical Center as one of only six Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education andClinical Centers (PADRECC) in the US. The Philadelphia PADRECC offers the sameexceptional Parkinson’s care to veterans, as well as opportunities toparticipate in clinical trials and other research initiatives.

What is Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’sdisease (PD) is a chronic and progressive movement disorder that involves themalfunction and death of nerve cells in the brain. Some of these dying nervecells produce dopamine, a chemical that sends messages to the part of the brainthat controls movement and coordination. As Parkinson’s progresses, the amountof dopamine produced in the brain decreases, leaving a person unable to controlmovement normally.

How many people have PD?
Asmany as one million Americans and an estimated seven to 10 million peopleworldwide are living with PD. 60,000 people in the US are diagnosed every year. While the average age ofonset is 60 years old, some people – such as actor Michael J. Fox – are diagnosedunder the age of 40.

How is PD diagnosed?
Thereis no standard test to conclusively determine a PD diagnosis. The diseaseshould be diagnosed by a neurologist with experience and training in assessingand treating PD. As knowledge about PD is growing, researchers are makingadvances in understanding the disease, its causes and how to best treat it.

What are the symptoms of PD?

Keymotor symptoms:

  • Tremor                        
  • Slownessof movement (bradykinesia)
  • Muscularrigidity or stiffness
  • Posturalinstability (impaired balance and coordination)

Othernon-motor symptoms may include:

  • Depression
  • Cognitivechanges
  • Lossof smell
  • Dementiaor confusion
  • Sleepdisturbances

How is PD treated?

Althoughthere is currently no cure for PD. Symptoms are managed with medications,rehabilitation therapies and surgery.

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