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Beloved New Jersey cellist dies of Parkinson's at age 76

Peter Jay Rosenfeld, a cellist active for many decades in orchestras such as the New Jersey Symphony, the New York Pops, and Musica Aeterna, died recently of Parkinson's Disease at age 76. He was also a founding member of the New-Jersey based e Leonia Chamber Musicians.

This man's legacy is proof that those who are diagnosed with Parkinson's may be able to continue working for several years. However, the disease is progressive, and may eventually interfere with a person's ability to walk, talk, write or perform other job duties.

The cause of the progressive movement disorder remains unknown, although researchers believe that repeated exposures or a combination of environmental risk factors may lie behind a person's developing Parkinson's disease. Multiple influences are regarded as risk factors, including head trauma, certain toxins, family history, and other environmental exposures.

The National Parkinson Foundation estimates that between 50,000 to 60,000 older adults in the U.S. are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease each year. A new research study also suggests that the risk factor of developing Parkinson's may triple in adults who had both traumatic brain injury and pesticide exposure.

There may be a scientific explanation why traumatic injury to the brain can lead to neurodegenerative problems down the road, such as Parkinson's. One theory is that head injury increases inflammation in the brain and disrupts the barrier separating blood circulation and brain fluid. That, in turn, may make neurons in the brain more vulnerable to the effects of pesticides, ultimately putting such adults at a higher risk for developing Parkinson's.

Genetic predisposition may also play a role, accounting for why a single factor -- such as a blow to the head -- may trigger the disease in some people, whereas others who aren't naturally susceptible to Parkinson's may develop it only after multiple exposures, or perhaps never.

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. An attorney can advise such workers of the applicable application requirements.

Source:, "Peter Jay Rosenfeld, founding member of Leonia Chamber Musicians, dies at 76," Leonia Life, Nov. 5, 2012

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