Clinical Trial for Parkinson’s and Its Connection to a Movie Star
Jul 17, 2023
Karin Fleming
Older Caucasian man in pajamas gets out of bed

A moving documentary describes actor Michael J. Fox’s rise to stardom and at one time his hidden Parkinson’s disease (PD) diagnosis. He spent years concealing his condition. After going public with his disease in 1998, he devoted himself to raising awareness and funding for research. The inspirational 62-year-old continues to share his story with the world.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a disorder of the central nervous system that affects movement and often includes tremors.

His new documentary “STILL. A Michael J. Fox Movie” also highlights his falls and fractures. He says, “I was walking really fast, and I fell into this piece of furniture. They did the x-rays…broke all the bones in [my] cheek and eye. They did surgery and went in and fixed it and put pins in it. So, I smashed my face up…I do that. Like, I do that. It’s part of the deal is that I fall.”

Later: “I broke my arm and people around me were going ‘hey you got to be careful, you gotta be different.’ This has nothing to do with being careful this is just like this happens you have Parkinson’s…you trip over sh*t and you fall down.”

Like Mr. Fox, people suffering from Parkinson’s often fall and suffer factures. But research is currently being conducted to investigate whether fractures from Parkinson’s related falls may be prevented. A clinical trial called the TOPAZ Trial is testing a treatment – a medicine called zoledronate – to prevent fractures. Participation in the TOPAZ trial currently being offered to patients at Sutter Health in its locations in the East Bay and Greater Sacramento Valley. Participants who qualify can participate in the study from their home.

You can join if:

  • You have Parkinson’s disease or Parkinsonism
  • You are 60 years old or older

Enroll: Sutter’s TOPAZ Trial is actively recruiting.

Sutter’s lead investigators are Dr. Matthew W. Arnold, a neurologist with Sutter’s East Bay Medical Foundation, and Dr. Nicklesh Thakur, a research neurologist with Sutter Medical Group.

“It’s incredible to witness the attention and resources Michael J. Fox has brought forth to the fight against this disease.  His foundation has been an invaluable resource to both patients and physicians,” says Dr. Arnold. “His grace and humor helps put a human face on Parkinson’s, and calls us all to action for more research and clinical trials. We are excited to offer patients at Sutter Health access to the TOPAZ trial to gather important information and help prevent disability in individuals with this illness.”

Learn more about TOPAZ on the “TOPAZ Trial” website or call 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636).

TOPAZ Trial is endorsed by the Parkinson’s Foundation and funded by the National Institute of Aging.

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