The American Parkinson Disease Association’s (APDA) National Young Onset Center, Glenview, Ill, has created a re-designed Web site, to better serve those with young onset Parkinson’s disease (PD), their family members, friends, and health care providers.

Features include an events calendar with details about upcoming PD events by state, and online publication ordering/downloading capabilities. The "Faces of Experience" section—one of the most popular sections of the original site—where visitors connect with other young people with Parkinson’s was kept intact.

"In addition to funding scientific research, patient, and caregiver support, APDA’s mission is composed of education, and younger people seek their information primarily from newer technology," says Joel Gerstel, APDA’s executive director.

APDA began expanding its young onset program in 2007 with the country’s first fee-standing center with full-time staff members dedicated to serving the needs of young people with Parkinson’s disease.

While researchers indicate that 10% to 20% of those diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease are under the age 50, and about half of those are diagnosed before age 40, APDA’s National Young Onset Center defines "young onset" more by lifestyle issues than chronological age. "We recognize that young onset patients tend to face a greater range of difficulties than those diagnosed at a more typical, later age including employment and financial matters, and relationship and parenting issues," says Julie Sacks, director of APDA’s National Young Onset Center. Sacks says the site provides younger people with the newest information and resources available to help them better manage their concerns and improve their overall quality of life.

New features will continue to be added. A message board, online match program, and other interactive features are being considered.

APDA is the country’s largest grassroots organization serving the Parkinson’s community. Operating through a national network of 53 chapters, 63 information and referral centers, and approximately 1,000 support groups, APDA focuses on funding research, patient/caregiver support, education, and raising public awareness about the disease.

Source: American Parkinson Disease Association

[Source: Medical News Today]