Parkinson’s Disease

Series Premiere of “The Patient Voice” – Meet Pokie Too!

“This represents my family, we share everything together.” – PokieToo, PatientsLikeMe Parkinson’s Community “The Patient Voice” is here!  Are you ready to listen in?  Today is the official premiere of our new PatientsLikeMeOnCallTM podcast, “The Patient Voice.”  Our first guest is Parkinson’s community member, PokieToo. Pokie is the founder and creator of the PatientsLikeMe Parkinson’s quilt, a handmade and inspiring piece of patchwork pulled together by members all over the world.  A valuable member of the PatientsLikeMe community, Pokie is recognized in the greater Parkison’s community as a leader and advocate.  She has worked a lot with various nonprofits, including as a consultant for the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation Parkinson’s Quilt Project, and she’s the captain of our members’ Team PatientsLikeMe at the Parkinson’s Disease Unity Walk every year. As you’ll learn from hearing from other members throughout this series, everyone knows her and loves her.  Pokie is truly an inspiration to everyone she meets. Listen in to learn about how the PatientsLikeMe PD quilt was created, how it’s being used to empower other patients, and why she calls PatientsLikeMe her family.

New Podcast Series: “The Patient Voice” Premieres This Thursday

On Thursday October 7, 2010, the PatientsLikeMeOnCall TM podcast is proud to present a new series called “The Patient Voice.”  Through these podcasts, you’ll hear emotional and inspiring stories from our community members that demonstrate the type of sharing and positive connections being made by patients on our site and how these connections are affecting their lives. For the first run in the series, we’ll be focusing on the PatientsLikeMe Parkinson’s community and hearing from members about a very special handmade quilt.  A few years ago, members of this community came together online and decided to create the quilt as a fun activity to get them through the winter season. Each patch of the quilt is designed by a different member of the community and demonstrates, in a very personal way, something about the individual and her/his experience living with Parkinson’s disease. Initially a fun passion project, the quilt has become an expression of the power of community. Little did the quilters know how much their project would end up impacting their lives, the lives of other members, and, even beyond that, the lives of people in the Parkinson’s disease community as a whole. This quilt has traveled all over …

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Tell the World: Daddytom Shares His Experiences with Parkinson’s

To continue our series in honor of Parkinson’s Awareness Month, here’s another interview to bring you “the patient voice.”   We recently featured this interview with three-star member daddytom in the April edition of our Parkinson’s Community newsletter. Read on to learn what he has to say about finding courage, recognizing mentors and raising awareness about the disease. * * * (Amy) Where do you find courage? (Daddytom) I don’t know if I have ever really thought about where I get courage from.  Tough question.  I find courage from several sources.  One is my faith in God.  I believe he is always here with me and only wants the best for me.   Can he cure Parkinson’s disease? Yes I believe he can.  Will he cure Parkinson’s disease?  I do not think so.   I think we are all given different trials throughout our lives.  And how we handle these trials makes us either stronger or weaker.I also get courage from my bride of 30+ years.  She is my best friend and confidant.   I can tell her my troubles and cares and she will listen.  And I get my courage from my support group and from PatientsLikeMe.   There is always someone facing worse …

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Tell The World: Parkinson’s Patients are “In Motion”

The PatientsLikeMeInMotion sponsorship program has been a tremendous success so far this year! Sponsorship requests from members participating in nonprofit events are flying in by the second from all over the country.  It’s exciting to see our members are as active offline as they are online about raising awareness of their condition.  The PatientsLikeMeInMotion program gives members the chance to show their PatientsLikeMe spirit, meet and connect with new people about their condition, and, as we like to say, Tell The World about their experiences.   It also allows PatientsLikeMe to give back to our 3-star members for all the sharing that they do. Since April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness month, we wanted to highlight one particular PatientsLikeMeinMotion team from our Parkinson’s community.   This  “Team PatientsLikeMe” has been together for 3 years and will once again join hands (and feet) for the Parkinson’s Unity Walk this Saturday (April 24th in New York City).  As we continue to get pumped up for this year’s Unity Walk, check out this great video from past events and hear community members “Tell The World” about their experiences with Parkinson’s Disease and PatientsLikeMe.

New Parkinson’s Genetics Engine to Enhance Research Through Shared Data

Though documented as long ago as the early 1800s, medical breakthroughs in Parkinson’s disease research have been slow in coming.  That’s why PatientsLikeMe continues to get involved in the research process.  With our new genetics engine for Parkinson’s disease, patients now have a way to share information about their genetics and find others with the same genetics as them.  As part of our commitment to supporting genetics discovery, PatientsLikeMe recently partnered with 23andMe, aiding them in their research effort to get 10,000 Parkinson’s patients for a groundbreaking research study. Most of the time, people don’t know what causes their Parkinson’s disease.  It could be due to genetic factors we haven’t identified yet, environmental exposures, or maybe even something else completely.  However, there are some known genetic causes of Parkinson’s disease. Sometimes different genetic mutations have different disease characteristics, so there’s some benefit to knowing what mutation you may have.  For example, different genetic mutations can result in an earlier or later onset for Parkinson’s disease, some have a milder or more severe disease course, and others have a higher or lower chance of dementia.  Knowing your genetic status could help you plan ahead, especially if you have a strong family …

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Rare Diseases: Well-Done Online

There are rare diseases, and there are rare diseases. Here at PatientsLikeMe our first community was built for patients with ALS (estimated US Prevalence: 30,000), and in common with our other neurological communities there is a familiar list of challenges: low public awareness, little funding for research, and a lack of adequate treatments. However, over the past year or so I’ve really had my eyes opened to the differences between “rare” and what you might call “super-rare” conditions, such as Devic’s neuromyelitis optica. Nobody really knows how many people Devic’s affects as it is frequently confused with MS, but there are probably only a few thousand patients with this condition in the world. That’s why we’re incredibly proud that our Devic’s community currently has 136 registered patients sharing health data with one another; that’s more than 5 times larger than the largest study I’ve seen on the condition in the scientific literature (which included collaborators from around the world in seven specialist centers over the course of several years). I was privileged to be invited to speak at the annual meeting of Eurordis (The European Organization for Rare Diseases) in Athens, Greece, to meet with some of the leading online …

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Sharing Is A Right As Well

We do not live our lives alone. We live our lives in collaboration with others. We communicate our needs and our goals, and together we work to achieve them. This is exceptionally true for families and individuals dealing with illness. Whether you’re dealing with depression, or pain, or perhaps the fear and stigma of HIV, or the impairment that comes from MS, Parkinson’s or ALS, what helps us the most is when those around us reach out and share their support and advice. You would think that your ability to share would be as much your right as speech, but is it? It’s not clear that is true in healthcare today, nor is it clear that such a right will be protected tomorrow. Privacy is also a right – a right to not share what you do not want shared. It’s a fair and just expectation that the doctors and clinicians you employ to support you in your illness will not share your information without your permission. Today, I fear that privacy has become much more than a right; it has become a goal. When that happens, people begin to find ways to make it difficult to share in the …

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PatientsLikeMe Teams Up with 23andMe to Help Parkinson’s Patients

Despite some recent happenings in the news, we’re here to assure you that health 2.0 is still very much alive.  Here’s our recent announcement about our new partnership with 23andMe. ————– PatientsLikeMe, the first community-based personalized medicine platform for people with life-changing conditions, and 23andMe, the world’s leading personal genomics company, announce a partnership today to help people with Parkinson’s disease.  PatientsLikeMe is teaming with 23andMe on its effort to recruit 10,000 people with Parkinson’s for a massive study of the disease, and give patients a way to learn more about their personal genetics. “Today, technology is moving faster than the research establishment,” says James Heywood, co-founder and chairman of PatientsLikeMe.  “We are excited to see what happens when you give patients the ability to see variations of their disease and compare it to their own, while enabling them to easily define their personal genomics.” More…

PatientsLikeMe at 2009 Parkinson’s Unity Walk

PatientsLikeMe was once again a proud sponsor of the 15th Annual Parkinson’s Unity Walk, held in New York City on Saturday April 25, 2009. On a gorgeous but hot day in Central Park, Jeana Frost, James Kebinger and I (Maureen Oakes) joined thousands of walkers and sponsors in raising more than $1.2 million for Parkinson’s research. As Lori said last year, “Unity” is the perfect word to describe this event. People from all over the world came together for a common cause and the results were staggering! Getting to meet PatientsLikeMe members in real life is always a treat, and this year we saw old friends and met some new faces too! For me, one of the highlights was getting to see the amazing quilt made up of squares created by our PD members. Not only is it a stunning piece of craftsmanship, but it represents the spirit of collaboration that is so central to PatientsLikeMe. Members from across the country, many of whom have never met each other, shared their own artistic talents in their individual squares and the final product represents their collective strength, wisdom and passion. It was a great symbol of the power of our PatientsLikeMe …

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Parkinson’s Disease: Real-World Data, Real-World Experiences

It’s Parkinson’s Awareness Month. As we continue to spread the word about this condition, we wanted to tell you a little bit more about our PatientsLikeMe Parkinson’s community. Launched two years ago this month, the community has steadily grown to include more than 3,400 patients. Below are some interesting facts about the community, as well as an interview with one of our members (“PokieToo”) giving her real-world experience of living with condition. WHAT’S IT LIKE LIVING WITH PARKINSON’S DISEASE (PD)? Meet PokieToo.  A long-time member of our PD community, she tells us how she continues to “look for the sunshine” while “taking 30 pills a day.”   “Out there for the next person,” PokieToo gives us a glimpse of the real-world experiences of living with Parkinson’s disease. DID YOU ALSO KNOW… More than 1,500 of our patient members are 50-yrs old or older 140+ of our patient members have inherited Parkinson’s disease (PD), and a handful of people have the less common drug-induced Parkinsonism and Vascular Parkinsonism Approximately 10% of our patient members (or 331) are Young-Onset Parkinson’s patients; that is, they report having experienced their first symptom before the age of 40. How are our members treating their condition? Patients …

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