Powell, OH,
21:24 PM

Columbus Dispatch/NBC4 : Young-Onset Parkinson's Disease

When you think of Parkinson's Disease, you might think of that as an disease that impacts someone much older.  That is certainly true in the statistics with the average age of dianosis of 62.  But there are national statistics that show about 4 percent of Parkinson's patients are under the age of 50.

Jessica Krauser of Powell was diagnosed at the age of 37.  

“I knew something was wrong with me, and now I had answers,” the now 39-year-old recalled recently to The Columbus Dispatch. "I very quickly said to my husband, ‘Well, this is the hand we've been dealt, so let’s just do this.’”

Her physician, Andrea Malone, DO, movement disorder specialist with OhioHealth said young-onset Parkinson's patients have a different set of challenges.

“These are patients in their prime working years, many with young families. These patients may already be a caregiver themselves for their kids and maybe even for their own aging parents,” she said to The Columbus Dispatch's Holly Zachariah. "Treatment requires a multi-disciplinary approach."

Krauser, flanked by friends and family, held a walk/run at Liberty Park South in Powell. They had hoped to raise $50,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Even before the event, the group had raised more than $70,000.

“What we’re looking for with fundraisers is sometimes treatments beyond that (exercise),” said Malone to NBC4.. “Maybe gene therapy or other types of medication that may neuroprotect someone.”

Parkinson’s progressively attacks the central nervous system, often first manifesting as barely noticeable tremors in a hand, but can progress to include slow movement, stiffness, and loss of balance. Medication can help treat the disease, but there is currently no cure.

“I've met such incredible people, and being around them helps me so much," Krauser said to The Columbus Dispatch. "I want everyone with Parkinson's to live like that and experience it that way."

To see the stories from NBC4 and the Columbus Dispatch, click their logos below.