HEALTH

We’re facing a Parkinson’s crisis: Expert warns the scores of new drugs and treatments will be useless unless we recruit more doctors

For many, hearing the word ‘Parkinson’s’ conjures an image of tremors.

But Parkinson’s disease, brought about by loss of nerve and other brain cells, is actually an incredibly complex movement disorder that can cause symptoms as wide-ranging as smell loss, thinking issues, depression and swallowing problems.

More than one-and-a-half million people in the US have the illness, and millions more loved ones and caregivers are affected by it, too.

Thanks to medical advances and better treatments, both patients and physicians understand that Parkinson’s is a livable disease, and that people with this condition can be happy, healthy and successful.

And yet, there is a critical shortage of doctors trained specifically in how to treat Parkinson’s disease. Only 40 to 50 new Parkinson’s specialists – neurologists with fellowship training in the disease – go into practice each year across this country.

And according to national doctor fellowship match data, this number has been relatively flat for the last five years.

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