The Drs: Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Disease & New Parkinson’s Treatments

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The Doctors: Parkinson’s Disease

One million Americans are living with Parkinson’s disease, including one very famous American, boxing legend Muhammad Ali. Dr. Travis Stork was joined by Muhammad’s daughter May May Ali to discuss her father’s condition and some of the amazing medical advancements currently being made.

Muhammad Ali is an Olympic Gold Medalist and three-time Heavyweight Champion of the World. In 1981, the legendary athlete retired, and at age 42 he shocked the world by announcing his diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease. He has since raised 45 million dollars for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Center.

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The Drs: Muhammad Ali Parkinson's Disease & New Parkinson's Treatments

Muhammad Ali’s daughter, May May Ali, discussed Parkinson’s disease on The Doctors. (Featureflash / Shutterstock.com)

The Drs: Muhammad Ali Condition

May May Ali, Muhammad Ali’s daughter, confirmed that her father is doing fine. There are often many rumors about his condition worsening, but they simply aren’t true. She attributes these rumors to the common misconceptions that surround Parkinson’s disease.

The Doctors: What Is Parkinson’s Disease?

Dr. Travis explained that Parkinson’s is “a chronic and progressive movement disorder” that begins in the brain. In Parkinson’s, cells lose their ability to produce dopamine, which is essential in movement and coordination. Symptoms include resting tremors of the hands, arms, legs and even jaw. Other patients will experience stiff joints, loss of coordination and fine motor skill difficulties. If you notice these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, it’s important to get checked out. There is treatment available, but early detection is key.

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“Being proactive is so important because it can improve your quality of life,” May May explained. May May is participating in the Unity Walk on Saturday, April 27 2013. All proceeds from the event go to Parkinson’s research.

The Doctors: Nicotine Treatment For Parkinson’s?

Dr. Travis and May May were later joined by Dr. Jeff Bronstein, director of movement disorders at UCLA, to discuss some of the latest medical advancements. There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but new treatments are providing insight into the disease.

Dr. Bronstein explained that researchers have found a protein that forms clusters and injures neurons of the brain. This information has led to new developments in Parkinson’s treatment, such as deep brain stimulation.

Another new treatment involves an unlikely source: cigarettes. It’s been found that smokers are 60% less likely to develop Parkinson’s. While smoking is still not recommended, it is possible that there is something in cigarettes – like nicotine – that prevents Parkinson’s. Instead of cigarettes, doctors are developing treatments that could involve a much safer nicotine patch.

May May’s advice to people diagnosed with Parkinson’s was, “Inform yourself, surround yourself and don’t isolate yourself.”

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