January's Charge for a Cure: Parkinson's Disease

Last Game: 1
January Total: 2
Season Total: 23

Charge for a Cure Initiative

PHILADELPHIA - You can help the University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team in the fight against Parkinson's Disease. January is the third month in the program's five-month long Charge for a Cure initiative. January is dedicated to Parkinson's and all donations throughout the month will go towards the The Michael J. Fox Foundation.

The Penn women's basketball team began the Charge for a Cure to help raise awareness as well as funds. For complete information on Charge for the Cure and to participate in the initiative, click here.

About Parkinson's
Parkinson's Disease is a neurological illness named after Dr. James Parkinson, a London physician who was the first to describe it in 1817. Parkinson's disease (or PD) is a disorder caused by the gradual loss of cells in a small part of the brain called the substantia nigra. The loss (death) of these cells produces a reduction in a vital chemical called "dopamine," which causes symptoms that may include shaking of hands, slowing down of movement, stiffness, and loss of balance. Other symptoms may include loss of facial expression, reduction in speech volume and clarity, difficulty swallowing, change in size of handwriting, dry skin, constipation, urinary difficulties, and depression. Because Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder, these symptoms worsen with time.

Who is at Risk?:

Estimates vary, but it is thought that about one million people in the United States have Parkinson's disease. Although the illness most often affects older individuals, particularly those over the age of 55, Parkinson's disease may also affect people in their 30's and 40's. PD appears to be slightly more common in men than in women. Various studies have suggested that PD may be more common in certain ethnic groups or in certain regions of the world, but these results are hard to interpret in light of regional and ethnic variations in mortality, perceptions of illness, and access to health care.

About The Michael J. Fox Foundation
The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson’s today. We believe without fail that our goal is within reach - but we can’t get there without your support. Please join the fight today.

For The Michael J. Fox Foundation, there is one clear measure of success: delivering patients better treatments and, ultimately, a cure for Parkinson's disease. We've developed a targeted approach to research funding that helps us identify and prioritize the patient-relevant science that will allow us to reach our goal. We tap leading specialists from around the globe to help us maintain a comprehensive view of the field and determine the research areas that hold the most promise for improving diagnosis and treatment of PD. In 2006 we convened over 350 top researchers from academic and industry labs all over the world for meetings to set strategy and future direction. Our meetings lead directly to funding initiatives, new collaborations and other action steps that will move the field forward faster.

The Foundation's scientific staff and expert advisors review proposals from researchers around the world. What are they looking for? The ideas that are most readily translatable into new treatments, the teams that can execute those ideas, thoughtful and realistic work plans, and outcomes that can take us closer to our goal: delivering better treatments and, ultimately, a cure for PD.

Since we began in 2000, the Foundation has funded more than $224 million in Parkinson's research, either directly or through partnerships. And every one of those dollars has helped us learn more about the disease, develop better treatments for patients and, ultimately, get us closer to ending Parkinson's.

Please join the women's basketball team as it looks to make a difference in the lives of the people that this disease affects every day. To join the team in Charge for a Cure, or for more information, contact assistant coach Kara Cassidy at karacass@upenn.edu.