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New Jersey mayor visits home of man with Parkinson's

A local mayor recently made an unexpected visit to the home of renowned New Jersey author and photographer Dr. Jonathan Singer and his wife. The couple had called animal control after spotting a dead cat in their basement. To their surprise, the mayor of their local town arrived -- in a suit and tie -- and removed the carcass for them. Dr. Singer may have required assistance because he suffers from a heart condition, Parkinson's Disease and deep vein thrombosis.

For many, a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease can signal the end of a person's ability to work full-time. The disease, considered a chronic and progressive movement disorder, affects a person's control over movements as neurons in the brain lose the ability to produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter which regulates movement and emotion. Resting tremors -- especially those that start in the hand -- are one common symptom. The disease can also cause weakness, stiffness and rigidity and balance problems.

The cause is unknown, and there is presently no cure. After a diagnosis, it may be possible to live with the disease for several years without serious impairment. In fact, 10 to 20% of those with Parkinson's do not have tremors. However, as the disease progresses and symptoms worsen, a person may experience difficulty walking, talking, writing, and performing other tasks. There may be some treatment options available to manage symptoms, including medication and surgery.

Nearly one million people in the United States are living with Parkinson's disease, and an estimated 60,000 more are diagnosed each year. It is more common in men and in people over age 50. Unfortunately, there are no lab tests to diagnose the disease. Rather, doctors typically must question patients suspected of having the disease.

When a case of Parkinson's disease is severe enough to prevent a person from working full-time, he or she might qualify for SSDI disability benefits. The Social Security Administration employs a multi-factors test to evaluate a person's eligibility.

Source:, "Bayonne resident surprised when mayor responded to call about decaying cat," Rafal Rogoza, July 27, 2012

  • Our firm handles situations similar to the one discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our New Jersey Parkinson's Disease page.

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