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  • Writer's pictureSAKS Market Access Team

An Innovative Study That Could Change Everything For Parkinson's Disease

At SAKS Health we are dedicated to working with our healthcare and life science partners to achieve Better Healthcare Tomorrow™. Many times the diseases and illnesses that we work with in our professional lives, touch our personal lives as well. One such disease is Parkinson’s, as a team member at SAKS explains:

After painting houses in and around New York City for almost 40 years, my late grandfather was looking forward to retirement with my grandmother in his leafy neighborhood in Queens, and time with his buddies on the local municipal golf courses. Unfortunately, Parkinson’s disease (PD) robbed him of those dreams.

PD is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects dopamine-producing neurons in the brain. Symptoms develop slowly over years, as they did for my grandfather, and typically include tremor, slow movement, weakness, limb rigidity, and gait and balance issues. PD is the world’s second most common brain disease, and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rates complications from PD as the 14th highest cause of death in the US. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation:

  • Nearly 1 million people in the US, and more than 10 million people worldwide, are living with PD

  • Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with PD each year

  • Men are 1.5 times more likely than women to be diagnosed with PD

  • The combined direct and indirect cost of PD in the US is estimated to be $52 billion per year

We lost my grandfather over 30 years ago. As a result, PD weighs heavily on my family health history. That’s why I was pleased when I recently learned about the groundbreaking Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI), sponsored by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. PPMI’s mission is to understand who is at risk for PD in order to protect everyone from the disease. While some of the factors associated with PD are known, others are not. PPMI can help uncover clues about who gets PD and why. Whether you have PD or not, I would ask that you consider participating in this study, especially if:

  • You have a close family member with PD

  • You act out your dreams while you are sleeping

  • You have noticed a persistent loss in your sense of smell

  • You have a known genetic mutation linked to PD

  • You are a man over 60 years old

You can find information about and enroll in PPMI at

It used to be difficult and costly to assemble the large amounts of data needed to research highly complex diseases such as PD. Studies were mostly limited to small groups of people, which meant science moved forward slowly. Today, technology enables PPMI to study tens of thousands of people. That means that with your help, we can learn faster and make quicker progress toward needed breakthroughs. Through PPMI we could change everything about how brain diseases like PD are diagnosed, treated, and ultimately, prevented.

At SAKS Health, we are committed to our motto of Better Healthcare Tomorrow™. This means supporting and creating access to new and innovative therapies and studies. It also means getting the word out about important work being done to improve lives for everyone. We are proud to support innovative studies such as PPMI to help contribute to that reality. PPMI also would allow for larger and more robust data sets to be compiled which has the potential to help researchers and scientists develop treatments, medical professionals to develop treatment plans, and payers to be able to make more informed decisions. Join us in supporting PPMI and Better Healthcare Tomorrow™.



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