Michael J. Fox “Stunned” at Robin William’s Parkinson’s Diagnosis

Actor Michael J. Fox has lived with the diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) since 1991, and in many ways has become the public face for those with the illness. His Michael J. Fox Foundation has become a leading supporter of Parkinson’s Disease research granting more than 460 million dollars to the cause.

When he learned that his friend Robin Williams had been diagnosed with PD, Fox said he was “stunned:” Taking to Twitter, he wrote:

Michael J fox on Robin Williams

Robin Williams had been a long-time supporter of his friend’s Foundation, having performed in the past at the foundation’s star-studded A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to Cure Parkinson’s annual galas.

mjff-logoMany have asked if Parkinson’s Disease can cause depression. According to the Michael J. Fox Foundation:

“Depression is a symptom of Parkinson’s disease, separate from the emotional response that comes with a diagnosis. As many as 50 percent of people with Parkinson’s show clinically significant symptoms of depression at some point in their disease course.

Depression in Parkinson’s may be due to the underlying changes in brain chemistry and circuitry from the disease itself. Evidence for this includes the fact that depression can predate a Parkinson’s diagnosis by a decade or more. More information is available on our Depression and Anxiety page.”

This is a video by Dr. Irene Richard from the University of Rochester discussing depression and PD.

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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