Practice boxing, another fight against disease

AA / Tunis / Hend Abdesmad

Slowness, stiffness, or tremors, the presence of two of these three symptoms, are characteristic of Parkinson’s disease, these motor symptoms commonly referred to as the Parkinsonian triad.

Parkinson’s disease is the second neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease, characterized by the destruction of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra of the brain, which are involved in the control of movements.

“It is a chronic neurodegenerative pathology that leads to progressive and selective damage to brain cells”, explains French Professor Philippe Damier, neurologist and chairman of the Scientific Council of the France Parkinson Association, in an interview. Females published by the French newspaper Journal des

The specialist specifies: “This progressive and irreversible premature destruction of certain neurons of the substantia nigra of the brain leads to a decrease in dopamine. This then leads to the classic symptoms of the disease: tremors at rest, slowness of movements and muscular rigidity known as plastic”.

A person affected by the motor triad (slowness, stiffness, and tremors) feels tiredness, numbness or a feeling of being blocked up to the inability to make even the slightest movement.

Akinesia, which is lethargy, is the most common symptom of the disease, where the person has difficulty initiating movements, especially movements requiring precise and semi-automatic movements, such as walking or writing.

Tense, tilted forward, head down, thus stiffness is observed in a person with this deformity. This hypertonia, which can affect all the muscles of the body, sometimes leads to leaning to one side, especially when sitting.

A slow, relatively regular and very low tremor is the third sign that appears after many years of development of the disease. Not to be compared with essential tremor, this symptom is exacerbated at rest, i.e. when the member concerned does not participate in any movement, and conversely if the individual initiates a movement, the tremor stops .

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The upper limbs are most often affected, namely the hand and wrist, however, it may affect only one finger.

“The average age of diagnosis is 58 years. The disease does not reduce life expectancy”, the France Parkinson Association underlined on its official website.

Since 1997, April 11, the anniversary of the birth of James Parkinson, has become World Parkinson’s Day.

*Why Parkinson?

In 1817, the British physician James Parkinson, in his essay “An Essay on the Shaking Palsy”, made history by accurately describing the then-unrecognized disease of shaking paralysis, examining one in six patients with symptoms of the disease. And they were observed to collect necessary information. Study it.

Pathology was renamed in his honor 60 years later, a condition proposed by French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot.

The causes of Parkinson’s disease are unknown, despite years of research, with doctors citing heredity and environment.

For the majority of cases, the hypothesis of a combination of predisposing environmental and genetic factors is the most plausible today.

“There are many causes of Parkinson’s disease, but we have not yet identified them all: we know that 10 to 15% of cases have a genetic origin. Then a gene is involved, but in the rest of the cases, it is is multifactorial: it may be linked to both a genetic and an environmental factor”, specifies Philippe Damier.

Many experts note a causal link between trauma and recurrence of trauma and frequent setbacks in boxing, rugby but also football.

“About 30% of boxers develop neurological disorders after their career” Jean-Fran├žois Cherman, neurologist, specialist in France, for concussions in athletes, is responsible for the consultation “Cerebral Concussion and Sport”, published in his 2010 book In “KO, troublesome file”.

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On July 19, 1996, at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, legendary boxer, Mohammed Ali Clay, was honored to light the Olympic flame, to the surprise of millions of television viewers around the world, his Parkinson’s disease.

This appearance aroused many emotions among his fans.

Diagnosed at age 42, the early onset of Parkinson’s disease in Clay caused strong suspicions about boxing in the eyes of doctors.

In his book Charman said that Muhammad Ali “at the end of his training, lowered his guard and asked to hit his partner in the head to show that he was the strongest”, before concluding ” There is a link between his current illness and such practice”.

*Non-contact boxing, for another fight

Strength, agility and balance but how to strengthen the three pillars of the musculoskeletal system in a person who has difficulty getting up when falling.

Rock Steady Boxing is an American non-profit organization that offers a program based on non-contact boxing training, specifically adapted for people with moderate or severe level of Parkinson’s disease.

Fighting pathology both literally and figuratively is the motto of this initiative.

Boxing exercises all the agility of the body and mind by encouraging the person to move in small steps in all directions without thinking too much about their feet. The benefit of this exercise for the body and mind is the fact of moving your arms and hands while maintaining the balance of the lower body.

Physiotherapy sessions based on non-contact boxing, which demand both physical abilities and cognitive functions, aim to improve speed, coordination of movements, strength, dexterity, or stimulate attention span through memory games involving movement .

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Fighting Parkinson’s disease improves patients’ daily lives, helps them manage the disease better, and may even slow its progression.

The Rock Steady Boxing program has its origins in studies conducted between the 1980s and 1990s that showed that a very physical sport, such as boxing, could be of great help to people with the disease.

For now, the management of subjects with the Parkinsonian triad is based primarily on the administration of dopamine, to offset the non-motor symptoms of the disease, to compensate for effects related to neurodegeneration, or other medical treatments.

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