New therapy may support functional recovery

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, degenerative brain disorder. As most Elgin long term disability insurance attorneys know, the disease can be highly debilitating. According to the National Institutes of Health, Parkinson’s disease often causes motor symptoms, including tremors, stiffness and impaired balance. Changes in memory, emotions, behavior and energy may also result from Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s affects at least half a million Americans, and roughly 60,000 new cases are diagnosed annually. Due to issues such as delayed diagnosis, the true number of victims may be much higher. While there is presently no cure available to these individuals, research suggests stem cell therapy might reduce the impairing effects of Parkinson’s.

Promoting functional gains

The exact cause of Parkinson’s is unknown. However, the loss of dopamine-producing cells may contribute to the disease, since dopamine is an essential neurotransmitter. The Center for Regenerative Cell Medicine states that past studies show the reintroduction of dopamine can improve symptoms of Parkinson’s. Many existing treatments for Parkinson’s involve dopamine therapy.

Scientists are now exploring whether stem cells might address dopamine loss more directly. As undifferentiated cells, stem cells can develop into specialized cells, including neurons. Stem cells could potentially help protect dopamine-producing neurons or replace these neurons. However, researchers must still identify the most effective type of stem cell and improve stem cell uptake in the brain.

Currently, dopamine replacement therapy remains one of the more effective methods of managing Parkinson’s. However, even with this treatment, the disease may prove disabling for many people.

Parkinson’s and SSD

Social Security Disability benefits may be available to people suffering from Parkinson’s. Victims may qualify for benefits by meeting the listing for Parkinsonian syndrome in the Social Security Administration “Blue Book” of impairments. To meet the requirements, victims must exhibit one of the following:

  • Limb rigidity
  • Bradykinesia, or slowed movement
  • Tremors in at least two extremities

Victims also must exhibit slow ambulation or difficulty with gross and fine movements. Alternately, as Elgin long term disability insurance attorneys can explain, people with symptoms equal in severity to the listed symptoms may also qualify under the listing.

Other applicants may receive benefits through a medical-vocational allowance. The SSA awards this allowance if a disability does not reasonably support gainful employment. The person’s own qualifications, including education and work experience, are considered when this allowance is awarded.

Establishing disablement

Providing adequate documentation of Parkinson’s disease is essential. People seeking SSD benefits need an official diagnosis from a qualified professional and statements establishing primary symptoms. Descriptions of how Parkinson’s affects daily life can also bolster a claim. To ensure sufficient documentation, applicants may benefit from partnering with Elgin long term disability insurance attorneys when filing the claim.