Community Impact & Rural Living Effects

Parkinson's can happen to anyone. It does not discriminate on race, religion or creed. It is not geographically limited, although may be geographically prevalent. It is not a club that people strive to be a part of or something that is expected before it comes. It is a life changing diagnosis and prognosis. 

MPI has been working to focus our awareness campaign on improving community knowledge of the incidence of the disease. People are asking questions and reaching out to us to learn more through our classes, website and via phone. The PD monthlies have been a success - - attendance has quadrupled since we started them in April! With 80% of the dopamine producing cells gone by the time physical symptoms of PD are noted and only 1 medication that may potentially preserve the remaining 20% focus needs to shift to how we can improve symptoms, mobility and quality of life. By teaching the community more about the disease state and its associated symptoms, we can help to make a difference in the lives of those with Parkinson's disease and those that care for them.   

A French group presented data at the 20th International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders in Berlin Germany June 2016. Their results suggested a strong link between farming, pesticides and risk of Parkinson’s disease. The data demonstrated that living in rural French regions with more crops was a high risk for the later developing Parkinson’s. The authors noted that these are typically regions where vineyards are located. The study used the French National Health Insurance databases and showed that there were more cases of Parkinson’s diagnosed in rural France. This study adds to other compelling evidence that farming and pesticide exposure are related to Parkinson’s risk. Collectively, many studies show that Parkinson’s seems to be closely associated with rural living and pesticide exposure.

This recent study only confirms what we have been noticing locally as incidence continues to rise. MPI's goal over the next year is to expand our reach to include rural communities in the medically underserved counties of ND and MN. If we can educate the caregivers, patients and families in these areas, quality of care and quality of life will improve for those with Parkinson's disease and those that care for them. This is also the basis for the hospitalist training program that we are planning to bring to Sanford in Fargo. If the effects of the disease are more well known, care can be more individualized and disease state focused, minimizing potential for medical complications, extended lengths of stay and maximizing patient outcomes. Please join us in this endeavor and support our work by visiting the donate page on our website.