Parkinson’s Disease–Not This Population

In the northern part of Israel and in Syria there is a group of people called ”Druse”. A new study by the University of Haifa and the Carmel and Rambam Medical Centers in Israel has found that the Druse people have a much lower incidence of Parkinson’s disease (PD) than in other populations. In addition it was found that this group suffers less from Essential Tremor (ET). This despite that the Druse tend to intramarry, a fact that usually brings with it higher genetic disease rates.
Funded by the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology the researchers found that the group is a “genetic nature reserve” since they have lived in the same general area for over 1,000 years and do not marry outsiders. Amongst the statistics is the fact that in the rest of the world ET affects an average of 4% of the poulation over 40 and PD an avaerage of 1.5%.
The study was conducted with 9000 Druse who were 51 or over and who live in the Galilee section of Israel. Blood samples were taken from those who suffered from any kind of tremor. Of the group only 27 had full tremors and 9 had PD. The researchers were surprised at the low at the low percentage for a group of people that practiced consanguinity (marrying cousins). Normally such a group would be more likely to get PD and ET. A previous survey, though, discovered that genetically 150 different genealogical lines made up the community. This suggested to the researchers that because of so many lines when the community was originally formed it prevented the increase in genetic diseases.
For those people who are not part of the Druse population Parkinson’s disease can be very debilitating. Fortunately there are physical therapy solutions that can offer some relief for PD symptoms. At the forefront is the HANDTUTOR.
 The newly developed HANDTUTOR and its sister devices (LEGTUTOR, ARMTUTOR and  3DTUTOR) have become a key system in neuromuscular rehabilitation and physical therapy for Parkinson’s patients as well as those affected by brain/spinal cord injury and other upper and lower limb disabilities . These innovative devices implement an impairment based program with augmented feedback  that encourages intensive practice and motor learning through active exercises. The exercises are challenging and motivating and allow for repetitive and intensive  training tailored to the patient’s performance and motor, sensory and cognitive movement ability. Customized and simple but powerful rehabilitation software allows the physical and occupational therapist  the ability to adjust the program and exercise difficulty to the patient’s movement level. The system also includes objective quantitative evaluations that allow the physiotherapist and his occupational therapist colleagues to report on the patient’s exercise progress.
 Telerehabilitation features allow the patient to be supported by the physical rehabilitation team when he is at home. This ensures that the patient is motivated to do more practice between treatments by the therapists.  The TUTOR system is suitable for children as well as adults. They are certified by the FDA and CE and are available for children as well as adults. See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL for more information.
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