The new television series stars Michael J. Fox as a news anchor who returns to work five years after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, which affects as many as 1.5 million Americans.
"Our patients face many of the same life challenges as Michael J. Fox, so we are all excited to see him return to national television, bringing awareness to the disease," says Abraham Lieberman, MD, medical director of the Ali center. "Like Muhammad Ali, Michael J. Fox continues to be a champion for Parkinson's awareness and research."
Parkinson's disease experts from the Ali center at St. Joseph's Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix are hopeful that Fox's character will both inspire patients and educate the general public about everyday struggles and successes for someone living with the disease.
"It's important for a figure like Michael J. Fox to show the world that people diagnosed with Parkinson's disease can still live quality lives," says Arshia Sadreddin, MD, neurologist at the Ali center.
Since its founding in 1997, the Ali center has understood that medicine is only part of the treatment for Parkinson's disease. Last year, experts at the Ali center greeted more than 3,000 participants in their unique exercise, education and support programs which are now being emulated at other Parkinson's centers around the nation.
"Our unique community programs and the outstanding medical care are what make the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center truly innovative and a leader in the nation," says Margaret Anne Coles, the Ali center's program manager. "Over the years, we've added unconventional programs such as expressive art classes, exercise classes which include Tai Chi and Yoga, a music club, a choir, and recreation therapy activities including a golf clinic."
Research suggests about 60 percent of Parkinson's patients experience depression, anxiety or apathy. Specially designed for people with Parkinson's by experts at the Ali Center, these community programs help improve patients' quality of life by managing more than the physical effects of Parkinson's disease.
"Patients with Parkinson's often need more than just a doctor," says Coles. "At the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, we pride ourselves in helping patients learn how to maintain both their independence as well as a positive outlook on life."
Contact: Sara Baird, (602) 406-3312