VAI on the latest in Parkinson's fight

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- The Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids conducts research to help find the cause of Parkinson's disease, with the hope of identifying a cure.

Jay Van Andel, who founded the institute in 1996 with his wife Betty, died from Parkinson's disease in 2004.

Thursday, we talked with the associate director of research at VAI about the scientific advances.

"What we've learned in the last 10 years or so -- there's a whole range of what we call non-motor symptoms. So for example, people with Parkinson's have difficulty sleeping, they're constipated, they may even lose their memory, and -- importantly -- they also suffer from depression. About two thirds of patients suffer from periods of depression," says Dr. Patrick Brundin.

He says it's too early to say whether Robin Williams' depression was linked to Parkinson's.

He does say, however, that up to a third of the people with Parkinson's have suffered from depression before the diagnosis.


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