Parkinson’s Progression

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Written By Sristi Dumre

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According to the American Parkinson Disease Association, 10 million individuals globally and 1 million Americans are affected by Parkinson’s disease.

New Jersey-based nonprofit healthcare provider Hackensack Meridian Health debuted a new speech therapy program on Monday to assist people with Parkinson’s disease in fending off one of the condition’s most prevalent symptoms: diminished speech.

There will be two phases to this new therapy. “SPEAK OUT!” will work with patients to “transform speaking from an automatic function to a conscious act” by beginning with the tailored strategy for each patient, according to a statement from Hackensack Meridian Health. With part two of the curriculum in a group environment, called “LOUD Crowd,” the emphasis on maintaining speech and language abilities will continue.

According to Samantha Elandary, founder of the Parkinson Voice Project, “up to 90% of persons with Parkinson’s are at high danger of losing their capacity to speak, and swallowing difficulties account for 70% of the mortality rate in this patient population.”

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

According to the National Institute on Aging, a division of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Parkinson’s disease is brought on by the death or impairment of neurons deep within the basal ganglia, a region of the brain known to control movement.

Although scientists disagree on the precise number, speech and language use up to 20 distinct muscles.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the disease’s early signs appear gradually and can include tremors in the hands, jaw, arms, legs, or head; stiff muscles; slow movement; decreased balance and coordination; difficulty swallowing and forming words; urinary and bowel issues; and depression.

Scientists do not yet know what causes these neurons to deteriorate, but they have discovered that treatments like specialized speech therapy can delay the process.

Speech might become more challenging as the condition worsens since it can get harder to control one’s motions as it advances, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation. The signs could appear over a period of 20 years or longer.

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