Seen on Saturday morning: April 19th

April 19, 2008 8:21:46 AM PDT

The first bout of the season for the Gotham Girls Roller Derby League is tonight!

Joining us this morning are two of the members, Amanda Doss of Bronx Gridlock and Kristin Carney of Queens of pain.

Roller derby can be rough. They follow a specific training program. Everyone needs some kind of regular exercise and stretching routine. They also like to use yoga and stretching to stay flexible as they get older.

They get bruised and sore and use natural pain relief to keep going: acupuncture, deep tissue massage, a homeopathic gel and warm baths with bath salts for sore muscles and injuries. Just like everyone working out or playing sports, they need to rest sore, stiff, or injured areas at first, and heal as quickly as possible so they can get back out there and not lose momentum.

Their tips to stay in shape:
-Stay hydrated: They drink water throughout the day and before and after bouts and use Vitamin C and electrolyte drink packets in their water.
-Make sure you're getting all the nutrients you need: they take multivitamins and eat right.
-Eat healthy, natural, unprocessed foods to build strong bodies. Most favor whole, organic foods for maximum nutrition content. Some have special high-energy meals before games.
-Get enough rest and keep a positive mental outlook to keep energy high.

Bout info:
Gotham Girls Roller Derby League All-Stars vs. Philadelphia
Gotham Girls Roller Derby League All-Borough Team vs. Connecticut
Sat., April 19
Bout starts at 7:30, doors open at 6:30
Long Island University Brooklyn, Schwartz Athletic Center
1 University Plaza, Brooklyn
Corner of Flatbush and Dekalb Aves.

The league is an all-volunteer non-profit, and none of the girls are paid in any way. They ask companies whose products or services they use if they can get free products in exchange for exposure. They have that arrangement with Arnicare Gel, Function Water and an acupuncturist.

For more information, go to


When someone is diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, it affects the entire family. A fundraiser next week in central park is helping hundreds of those families.

Joining us this morning are Carol Walton, the CEO of the Parkinson's alliance and Dr. Michele Tagliati, associate professor or neurology at Mt. Sinai Medical School and author of Parkinson's disease for dummies.

14th Parkinson's Unity Walk
Saturday, April 26th at Central Park

Largest grassroots event in this country for PD research
When someone is diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, it affects the entire family

At the event:
Doctors will answer your questions

You can:
talk to a physical therapist, speech therapist
learn about support groups and education symposiums in your area
learn how to become a Parkinson's disease advocate

Booths open 10 a.m.
Program starts at NOON
Walk begins at 1 p.m.
Live web cast from 11AM eastern till 1 p.m.

For more information, go to

Parkinson's disease is a chronic degenerative neurological disorder that affects 1 in 100 people over the age of 60.

When someone has Parkinson's disease their brain stops producing a chemical called dopamine that controls movement. Cardinal symptoms include tremor, balance problems, shuffling or slowness of movement and rigidity.

Over 1.5 million Americans have PD

Over 60,000 new cases diagnosed each year - 1 every 9 minutes

Average age is 60 but people like Michael J. Fox are called Young Onset as they develop the disease before age 60 -

Unfortunately there isn't a clear test for PD. The diagnosis is done in a clinic with a movement disorder specialist-and because PD mimics many other diseases there is a high rate of misdiagnosis. It is very important to see a movement disorder specialist that sees a large population of Parkinson's patients.

We have drugs and therapies that help with quality of life but you need a real specialist to help work with these therapies. Parkinson's is different for every person and drugs react different in each patient.

We also have a surgical therapy called Deep Brain Stimulation-this is like a pacemaker for the brain. Leads are put in a certain part of your brain and a generator in put into your chest. Electrical impulses are sent to your brain 24 hours a day and greatly relieve the symptoms of PD. This is a great therapy for the right candidate.

2 major areas of research that are important now -

We don't know cause of PD and until we know that can't find the cure

Therefore, one goal is to slow down the progression of the disease, or to try and prevent cells from dying. This is called neuroprotection -

One great example: We now believe that EXERCISE may be neuroprotective-everyone can do this-noninvasive and doesn't cost anything. We know that exercise is good for many reasons-but if it slows the progression of PD that is another big plus.

Second major area of research is gene therapy - this is where you insert a gene into an individual cell to treat a disease. Currently a major trial - by a company called Ceregene - using a growth factor called Neutrin. Think of growth factors as Miracle Grow for the brain - it acts like fertilizer-keeps cells healthy and slows progression of those that are dying.

We definitely need more funds for research-and that is exactly what we'll be doing at the 14th Parkinson's Unity Walk that will be held Saturday, April 26 in Central Park.

First Walk was held in 1994 - had 200 Walkers and made $16,000 for research

Last year we had over 10,000 people and made $1.6 million for research

The Walk is one stop shopping for the entire family. When someone is diagnosed with PD it effects everyone in the family.

Knowledge is power - and this is the one day you can arm yourself with knowledge about this disease.

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder that has a slow progression over 5 to 10 years and is associated with significant disability, poor quality of life, and, in advanced stages, caregiver burden. Over 1 million individuals in the United States carry a diagnosis of PD, with a wide age range between the 40s and 50s (so-called "young onset PD") to the 60s and 70s, when the disease is more prevalent. With the growth of the senior population in the United States, the prevalence of PD is expected to increase. In response to this anticipated increase in the prevalence of PD, the search for agents that may delay or arrest its pathologic progression (ie, neuroprotective agents) has become a high priority among researchers. The other reason for the current focus on neuroprotection is that the ultimate cause of PD is unknown, so it is practically impossible to devise a definitive cure with the current scientific knowledge. Neuroprotection is defined as protecting neurons from cellular damage induced by various biochemical insults associated with the pathogenesis of PD.

Gene therapy is the insertion of genes into an individual's cells and tissues to treat a disease. It is a novel form of molecular medicine, which will have a major impact on human health in the coming decades. The scope and definition of gene therapy has expanded in the past years. In addition to the possibility of correcting inherited genetic disorders like cystic fibrosis or hemophilia, gene therapy technology is now used to tackle progressive neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease (PD). Initially developed in 1990, gene therapy techniques have been experimented in hundreds of clinical trials over the past 20 years, involving thousands of patients. In most gene therapy studies, a "corrected" gene is inserted into the genome to replace an "abnormal," disease-causing gene. A carrier called a vector must be used to deliver the therapeutic gene to the patient's target cells. Currently, the most common type of vectors are viruses that have been genetically altered to carry normal human DNA.

Several gene therapy protocols are currently under study for PD, using different approaches. At Mount Sinai we are involved in a Phase-II multicenter study of CERE-120 (Ceregene Inc.). CERE-120 uses gene therapy to deliver the neural growth factor neurturin to the major area of neurodegeneration that occurs in the brains of PD patients. Long-term follow up assessments at 18 and 24 months post treatment of 12 patients enrolled in phase I study, suggest a sustained reduction in PD symptoms. Results of the ongoing controlled Phase 2 trial of CERE-120 will be analyzed near the end of 2008. This data will determine whether there is a possibility that CERE-120 might significantly and persistently improve the symptoms of advanced PD patients.