Minot News

A Man With Parkinson's Is Having His Voice Heard

North Dakota has the 3rd highest incidence of Parkinson's Disease in America.

The condition affects many parts of a patient's body - including the voice.

But there's a way for people with Parkinson's to keep their voices heard.

Donald Andrews knew something was wrong three years when he was experiencing tremors in his left arm and hand. After visiting a doctor - he learned that he had Parkinson's Disease. Donald knew about some of the common symptoms but did not realize that he could get a voice disorder. But he's tackling that problem before it gets worse.

"With Parkinson's, it's always better to start early," said Donald Andrews, Speak Out Participant.

The Parkinson Voice Project created a program known as Speak Out and Loud Crowd. The first part of the program is Speak Out and it's designed to preserve patients speech and their vocal quality through a variety of exercises.

"The exercises that we do are to strengthen the muscles for breathing and for breath support," said Danae Burke, MSU Graduate Student, Communications Disorders.

Donald did Speak Out for a month; 3 times a week. Now that he's graduated to the Loud Crowd program which focuses on maintaining his progress.

"Well the old cliche, use it or lose it is pretty appropriate for this condition," said Andrews.

"It's completely amazing that over so many sessions that we can see dramatic differences," said Burke.

Differences that can help people keep their voices while battling Parkinson's.

The program is at Minot State University and is conducted by graduate students in the Communication Disorders Department.

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We did some extra research to see what Parkinson's looks like here at home.

According to MidwestParkinsons.org, North Dakota has the 3rd highest incidence of Parkinson's Disease in America.

The Midwest and agricultural communities are much more affected than southern and eastern states.

There is no single test like a blood test that will determine if someone has Parkinson's but symptoms like tremors, rigidity, and posture instability are strong indicators.

If you have symptoms, it's best to see a neurologist.

There is no standard treatment for the disease.


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