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Why Ali Was a Legendary Warrior in the Battle Against Parkinson’s

Muhammad Ali’s fight against Parkinson’s helped encourage others with the disease to open up, and his efforts also triggered a massive public health and research mission to determine the true cause of Parkinson’s. The research is still ongoing, but progress has been swift and fascinating. Tucson, AZ, Parkinson’s care experts explore some of the reasons why Ali became such an important figurehead in the fight against Parkinson’s disease.

Early Assumptions About Ali’s Diagnosis

Many observers and medical professionals assumed Ali’s Parkinson’s diagnosis was at least partially caused by repeated blows to the head. Many researchers claimed this viewpoint was intuitive, and few people in the general media questioned the analysis. Although the National Parkinson Foundation still lists head injuries among the possible causes of the disease, research has progressed far beyond these rudimentary assumptions. Many different genetic linkages are thought to contribute to Parkinson’s, most of which concern the release of dopamine from nerve cells at various points throughout the body. A better understanding of these linkages has moved medical comprehension of Parkinson’s past a focus on blows to the brain.

His Treatments for the Condition

Muhammad Ali’s treatments were typical of the day. He was given synthetic dopamine to replace the dopamine his nerve cells were unable to produce. The synthetic dopamine allowed his nerve cells to communicate, but caused tremors and other physical issues in his body. In many Parkinson’s cases, doctors argue this blanket treatment often causes as much harm as it prevents.

How He Helped Reclassify the Disease

Some researchers have begun referring to Parkinson’s disease as Parkinson’s syndrome. The name change is meaningful because it could affect the way medical professionals approach treatment. Instead of solely using dopamine injections as treatment, doctors can determine the genetic root of the particular disease and work backward from there. Widening the array of Parkinson’s treatments may be one of Muhammad Ali’s greatest legacies.

Families often become distressed when a senior loved one is diagnosed with Parkinson’s, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. With the help of the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your loved one can manage his or her Parkinson’s symptoms and continue to live a happy, safe, and healthy life at home. For more information on in-home senior care Tucson seniors and their families can rely on, call (520) 276-6555. One of our qualified Care Managers would be happy to answer your questions and schedule your free consultation.