Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, after Alzheimer's, in the United States. A disorder that affects movement and cognition, it was largely unknown to most Americans until boxer Muhammad Ali and actor Michael J. Fox put a face to the disease.
Nearly 1 million people in the U.S. are living with Parkinson's disease while still others suffer from Parkinsonian syndrome — conditions that have the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, such as tremors, stooped posture, slowness and shuffling gait. With the nation's aging population, the numbers are expected to grow.
Some researchers in the College of Health and Human Sciences (HHS) are examining the role of environmental exposures to better understand the effect on the neural system and mechanisms of Parkinson's while others at Purdue are working to improve the lives of those living with the debilitating disease.