Michael J Fox Struggling With Parkinson's

Read Time: 3:56
Published: Apr 6th, 2016
Michael J Fox Struggling With Parkinson's
Article Updated:June 16th, 2020

Most American’s are well aware of Michael J. Fox’s health challenges since his diagnosis with Parkinson’s. A recent article in  The New York Times Magazine, he discusses a new spinal cord problem he’s been dealing with which causes him to fall.  

Fox had surgery to attempt to address this issue, however, he says he fell in his kitchen which resulted in 19 pins and a plate in his arm. This may have slowed him down, but he, according to reports, is making the best of his condition and staying as active as possible. This includes his efforts, through his “Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research”, which is funding research into Parkinson’s Disease. 

In August 2019, the foundation announced the funding of the "PPMI RNA-Sequencing Project". This will provide unprecedented insights into how gene expression changes over time in people with Parkinson's disease.

In an interview with Haute Living's November/December issue, Michael J. Fox says he hasn't allowed Parkinson's Disease to stop him - despite a doctor who told him he had 10 years of work left-back when he was just 29. Reports indicated his health was in deep decline based on a tabloid magazine’s report. The Globe and its publisher American Media Inc. apologized for publishing a story that grossly exaggerated that his physical and mental health was in deep decline because of Parkinson's disease.

Parkinson's at Age 29

Fox was working on the movie “Doc Hollywood” in 1991 when he learned about his condition. The published article says he waited seven years to announce his condition to the world since he felt it would hurt his acting career. He claims he was in denial.

According to a report published on amomama.com, Fox noticed a twitch in his left little finger. In 1991, Fox was age 29. He was on the set of "Doc Hollywood" and sought the advice of a neurologist.  However, the neurologist dismissed it as an injury to his funny bone. But six months later, the symptoms had worsened. 

His foundation website offers a number of resources for both researchers as well as the public, including those suffering from Parkinson’s and Lewy Body Dementia: www.michaeljfox.org

If his Parkinson’s progresses Fox may need help with his normal activities of daily living. Some people who suffer from this condition also requires supervision due to memory loss.

Fox has in recent years appeared on some episodes of the CBS TV series ‘The Good Wife’.

 "It was pretty scary. I was 29 years old and so it was the last thing I expected to hear.” "I thought I'd hurt my shoulder doing some stunt because I had a twitch in my pinkie. And the doctor said 'You have Parkinson's disease.' He said, 'The good news is that you have 10 years of work left'."

Michael J Fox

Speaking with David Letterman a number of years ago, Fox described the day he received his diagnosis.

Another complicating factor is that many people with both dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson's disease dementia also have plaques and tangles — hallmark brain changes linked to Alzheimer's disease.

Lewy bodies are also found in several other brain disorders, including dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Evidence suggests that dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson's disease, and Parkinson's disease dementia may be linked to the same underlying abnormalities in brain processing of alpha-synuclein.

The key brain changes linked to Parkinson's disease and Parkinson's disease dementia are abnormal microscopic deposits composed chiefly of alpha-synuclein, a protein that's found widely in the brain but whose normal function isn't yet known. The deposits are called "Lewy bodies".

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the brain changes caused by Parkinson's disease begin in a region that plays a key role in the movement. As Parkinson's brain changes gradually spread, they often begin to affect mental functions, including memory and the ability to pay attention, make sound judgments and plan the steps needed to complete a task.

Michael J. Fox Foundation

Today he devotes much of his time to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which he set up in 2000. He has said his goal is to put the foundation out of business. Parkinson’s creates a number of health issues which generally increase over time.

Many people are unaware that the custodial care and supervision required due to Parkinson’s and related dementia are not covered by health insurance or Medicare. These costs are generally paid out-of-pocket unless a person has Long-Term Care Insurance. Medicaid, the medical welfare program, will pay for these costs for those with little or no resources.

About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

Editor's Note

Fox's health issues remind us that our health can change without notice. Plus, longevity, itself, is a risk for needing long-term care services. 

Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance provides access to your choice of quality care, protecting savings and income, and easing the stress otherwise placed on your family.

As Humans We Deteriorate Over Time

All of us are human. Our bodies don't work forever; we will need help with the activities of daily living we take for granted. These are things we had to learn as an infant, including eating, bathing, using the bathroom, and more. With longevity comes cognitive decline. 

People require long-term care services and supports due to an illness, accident, or the impact of aging. Preparing for the financial costs and burdens associated with getting older is an essential part of retirement planning.

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Start planning before you retire. Start your research by finding the current and future cost of care in your area by using the LTC News Cost of Care Calculator. You will also discover additional information that pertains to your state. Click here to use the calculator. https://www.ltcnews.com/resources/states

Always use an experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist. The cost of Long-Term Care Insurance varies by over 100%. Using a specialist instead of a financial advisor or general insurance agent will ensure you will get accurate quotes and professional recommendations. 

Find a trusted and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist by clicking here.

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LTC News Contributor James Kelly
James Kelly

Contributor Since
August 21st, 2017

LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

About the Author

LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

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