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Michael J. Fox's Appearance in TV Ad Typical of Parkinson's

When actor Michael J. Fox appeared in a TV political ad supporting stem cell research, a flurry of controversy erupted around his Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

Was he exaggerating, as one radio commentator suggested?

Many people don’t realize how severe Parkinson’s disease can be. This is largely because most of us have never witnessed these symptoms unless we personally know someone struggling with this disabling condition.

Fox has a very severe form of Parkinson’s that affected him at a young age. And he’s been through many aggressive treatments, including brain surgery.

The symptoms he displayed on the commercial are common Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

In the past we’ve witnessed his tremor that’s so characteristic of Parkinson’s. And his uncontrolled body movements that appeared during the commercial are also typical of Parkinson’s -- and also possibly a side effect of one of his medications.

Despite all his treatment, Fox continues to have severe Parkinson’s symptoms that are likely getting worse over time.

Unfortunately, medications often may not work that well, especially as the disease progresses. That’s why researchers are working furiously to find new and improved treatments for Parkinson’s.

More information on Parkinson’s disease symptoms and treatment can be found in WebMD’s Guide to Parkinson’s disease.

By Michael W. Smith, MD, reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

SOURCE: WebMD Medical Reference in collaboration with The Cleveland Clinic: "Parkinson's Disease." Wire reports.