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Transcript: Chat With Experts from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research

Comment From Guest: Do you believe that Parkinson's and dystonia are related? I do suffer from dystonia; so far in my voice and in my hand. I've had it for years

Facheris: Some people with Parkinson's do suffer dystonia as a symptom. But dystonia can also be an independent disorder.

This is the reason it is so important to visit with a neurologist with movement disorders training or specialty who can distinguish between these two conditions.

Comment From Sandy: My husband, 73, suffers from Lewy Body Dementia. Are the symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia often confused with Parkinson's disease, or are they the same?

Facheris: Thanks for sharing, Sandy. This is a great but complex question.

Lewy Body Dementia tends to manifest very quickly after the diagnosis of Parkinson's, whereas cognitive impairment in Parkinson's occurs later in the disease progression and has different features.

Fiske: It sounds confusing and it is. Even the FDA is confused. This is why today we're hosting a meeting with the FDA in Washington, D.C., to better define cognitive issues in Parkinson's disease.

Comment From Michael: What would you say is the biggest obstacle to obtaining a cure?

Fiske: One of the biggest challenges is the time and money it takes to develop even a single new drug for a complex disease like Parkinson's.

Estimates suggest it may take 15 years and a billion dollars. But that is why foundations like ours are pushing so hard to accelerate this process. For example: reducing the duplication of efforts, encouraging collaboration, reducing risk and providing common research tools that everyone can use.

Facheris: On top of this, another major obstacle is the challenges in testing promising drugs in the clinic. Believe it or not, one of the biggest obstacles is finding people willing to participate in clinical trials.

Eighty-five percent of clinical trials are delayed and 30 percent of Parkinson's clinical trials never launch due to lack of clinical trial volunteers.

That's why the foundation and partners have created a clinical trial matching tool to speed the drug development process.
Fox Trial Finder is similar to a dating site, except that it matches you to clinical trials recruiting in your area.

You can create a profile and learn more at:

AARP: OK, I think that will be our last question. We've gotten so many great questions. Any final statements, gentlemen?

Facheris: We agree, this has been a great Q&A. We wish we could have answered more questions. For additional information, please visit our website at

Fiske: I agree with Maurizio, thank you for your time.

AARP: Thank you for joining our chat today!

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