Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurodegenerative brain disorder, which causes tremors and difficulty with movement and coordination. Parkinson’s affects nerve cells—called neurons—in a particular part of the brain called the substantia nigra. These neurons normally produce dopa- mine, a brain chemical that relays messages between the substantia nigra and other parts of the brain that control muscle movement. These dopamine-producing neurons are slowly destroyed over time, eventually preventing normal control of movement. The cause of the neuronal degeneration is unknown. In the U.S. more than fifty thousand new PD cases are diagnosed each year. Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (which can include, but are not limited to muscle rigidity, tremors, slowed movement, drooling, and difficulty with balance) may initially be mild and may affect one or both sides of the body.
Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common neurodegenerative disorder affecting over 5.8 million Americans and tens of millions of people around the world. It is the most costly disease in the U.S. and while there are currently a few FDA-approved therapies that offer modest benefits, and some disease-modifying therapies currently being studied, there is no cure yet on the horizon. Most people are unaware that 4 out of every 10 cases of Alzheimer’s may be preventable based on modifiable risk factors (based on the 2020 Lancet Commission Report). PAREF aims to educate the public about these lifestyle based interventions for patients at risk.