AUSTIN, Texas - Michael J. Fox made an appearance at Comic-Con in New York last weekend, bringing renewed attention to Parkinson's Disease. Fox has lived with Parkinson's for three decades now.
"You have to understand, Michael J. Fox has had Parkinson's since age 29, which is a bit atypical. You usually get this later in age, usually past 65 or older," said Dr. Eric Krause, a neurologist with Ascension Medical Group — Seton Neurology.
Dr. Krause said with Fox being diagnosed so young, it makes his case so unusual. At 61-years-old, he has now been living with the neuro-degenerative disorder for more than 30 years.
"No Parkinson's patient is the same. And, so people that have Parkinson's, they usually live over 20-years. That's not too uncommon these days because we have good medicines to treat them and even surgical procedures to help them live a good quality of life," said Dr. Krause.
Typically, Parkinson's patients develop abnormal, uncontrollable movements after about five to seven years. That is something that can be seen when Fox took the stage with his "Back to the Future" co-star Christopher Lloyd at Comic-Con.
"So, those excessive movements are called dyskinesia. And, dyskinesia can happen later in the course of Parkinson's, when you've been exposed to medicines for so long, you've built tolerance to the medicines," said Dr. Krause.
Fox remains positive and is a source of inspiration and hope for people living with Parkinson's.
"He's actually done so much good for the Parkinson's community itself with the Michael J. Fox Foundation. I mean he's contributed to so many studies. He's probably been one of the best people for the Parkinson's research community in the world actually," Dr. Krause said.
"His work toward the field is just extraordinary. I think we all have to remember that and acknowledge that because he's not only a movie actor and a hero on the screen. He's actually a hero for the scientific community," Dr. Krause added.
The future is bright for Parkinson's, Dr. Krause said. Thanks to research, it's quite positive there could be a cure in 5 to 10 years.
To learn more about research and resources for Parkinson's patients and families, click here.