Roughly one million people in the United States have Parkinson’s disease, a neurogenic condition that effects motor skills and mood and currently has no cure. Empowered by Parkinson’s explores the effects of the disease as well as ways patients are taking control of their own treatments.

Stream the full program below.

Where to Watch

Empowered by Parkinson’s premieres on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 10 p.m. on CPTV. It encores on Saturday, April 11, 2020 at 7 p.m. on CPTV and Tuesday, April 21, 2020 at 10 p.m. on CPTV.

It is now available to stream on this page in the video player above, at video.cptv.org, and on the Connecticut Public App.

More About the Program

Participants in a Power for Parkinson’s class in Austin, Texas work on movement combined with some vocal exercises, all aimed at slowing the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

Empowered by Parkinson’s addresses a holistic approach to wellness for people living with Parkinson’s, highlighting a variety of treatment options that may mitigate symptoms. One option that has proved successful is music. Studies suggest that singing helps delay the effects of Parkinson’s by exercising the vocal chords. Viewers travel to Philadelphia and meet The Parkinsingers, a choral group featuring 60 Parkinson’s patients and caregivers who meet weekly and perform two annual concerts.

Viewers also meet a variety of doctors, researchers, and other specialists working to find effective treatments. For example, Dr. Maureen Leehey, a neurologist and professor at the University of Colorado, is currently studying the effects of CBD and THC on Parkinson’s patients. Though the double-blind study is still in progress, there is some evidence that the use of a specific mix of those two components can assist in reducing anxiety with Parkinson’s patients.

Allan Cole at approximately mile 24 in in the New York City Marathon, November 2019. He started running after his diagnosis of early onset Parkinson’s 2 years prior. Exercise is one of the best ways to slow the progression of the disease.

According to Todd Sherer, Ph.D., the CEO of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF), there are roughly 200 drugs in clinical trials for Parkinson’s. For instance, Dr. David Margolin, M.D., Ph.D., is the senior vice president of clinical and translational medicine at Cerevance, and is working on a drug that selectively targets the dopamine D2 receptor-dependent, an indirect pathway to increase the positive effects of the drug.

Empowered by Parkinson’s focuses on cutting-edge possibilities for the future treatment of the disease as well as the day-to-day ways real people are surviving – and thriving – with Parkinson’s.

You can see an interview with the film’s producer, Andre Costantini, here.

Connecticut Public Television (CPTV) is the presenting station for Empowered by Parkinson’s. It is distributed nationally by American Public Television (APT).

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