Link between COVID-19 molecule and brain with question mark above

The Link Between COVID-19 & Parkinson's Disease

One wonderful personality trait of my Indian father’s is that he typically does not do what he does not want to do. Managing this with his Parkinson’s has not been easy. There is no getting him to exercise if he is not in the mood to do it. There is no getting him to eat better if he is craving something, and there is definitely no getting him to wear a mask and stay indoors. Living far away from him does not help the situation.

Staying active during the pandemic

With COVID-19 plaguing our entire 2020, one could say this whole year has gone to crap. For me, no problem. Next year will be better. So I have to make sure I go out less and just cover up a bit more? No big deal. I live in New York so I don’t have to go far to find fun events.

For my father though, he is usually itching to get out and do random things - mainly errands and grocery shopping or going to the library - but staying at home does drive him a bit up the wall. This is difficult to control with COVID. He lives in Northern Texas, where the population isn’t as densely populated as New York, so when I was being dramatic (rightfully so) and telling him he had to stay home or wear a mask if he was going to go for an errand, he scoffed at me.

How does COVID-19 react with Parkinson's?

What is most concerning is that we really don’t know how COVID-19 reacts with Parkinson’s. We don’t know anything about COVID-19, but are people who have PD more likely to contract it? What happens to the person if they do get COVID? Is it harder to recover with PD? Do people ever truly recover?

I knew some of the answers to these questions specific to my father. I knew him being older meant he was more likely to contract it and to not even risk it. But if I was going to convince my father of how truly harmful and fatal COVID could be for him, I’d have to come at him with research.

The effects of COVID-19 on people with Parkinson's

A study was recently published in the International Official Journal of Movement Disorders titled, “Effects of COVID‐19 on Parkinson's Disease Clinical Features: A Community‐Based Case‐Control Study”. I was surprised a study was conducted with PD patients in mind so quickly. Correct me if I am wrong, but PD isn’t exactly the sexiest disease to research for medical professionals.1

The study researched how COVID-19 impacts clinical features of people with PD. Essentially, they studied how much does a person with PD truly gets affected by COVID-19 and to what degree does having PD play into recovery time. There wasn’t much research done on the connection between having PD and contracting COVID-19 - mainly because they don’t think there is one. I think this is a mistake to assume this but I am no researcher.1

What was found was that patients’ “motor and nonmotor symptoms significantly worsened,” and that therapy was required in a third of the cases. There was also clinical deterioration and impairment in the COVID‐19 group, requiring therapy adjustment in one-third of cases. There was also a lessened impact of drug therapies on regulating the patients’ dopamine levels. Urinary issues and fatigue were the most prominently impacted non-motor issues. Cognitive functions were minimally impacted.1

So all in all, pretty bleak. I hope with this information I presented to my father I see a change in behavior.

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