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Michael J Fox - Michael J Fox Michael J Fox suffers from...

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Michael J. Fox Michael J. Fox suffers from Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson's disease is a chronic,  degenerative neurological disorder that results from the loss of cells in various parts of the brain,  including a section called the substantia nigra.  “The substantia nigra cells produce dopamine, a  chemical messenger responsible for transmitting signals within the brain that allow for  coordination of movement. Loss of dopamine causes neurons to fire without normal control,  leaving patients less able to direct or control their movement. Parkinson's is one of several  diseases categorized by clinicians as movement disorders” (2007).  Everyone loses some  dopamine-producing neurons as a normal part of aging. But people with Parkinson's disease  lose half or more of neurons in the substantia nigra. According to the website for the Michael J.  Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s disease, it affects one in one hundred people over the age of  sixty. In an estimate five to ten percent, however, disease onset starts by 40. There is no objective test, or biomarker, for Parkinson's, so the rate of misdiagnosis can  be relatively high, especially when the diagnosis is made by a non-specialist. Estimates  of the number of people living with the disease therefore vary, but recent research  indicates that at least one million people in the United States, and six million worldwide,  have Parkinson's(2007). The signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s are tremors, slowness of movement (also known as  bradykinesia), rigidity, and difficulty with balance. Other symptoms may include: small, cramped  handwriting, stiff facial expressions, shuffling walk, muffled speech and depression (2007). 
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