Doctor informs Rotarians of Parkinson’s disease symptoms, risk factors

Dr. Harry Tamm responds to Rotarians’ and guests’ questions at a recent Rotary Club of Scottsdale meeting. (Submitted photo)

Dr. Harry Tamm spoke recently to the Rotary Club of Scottsdale, telling members about several risk factors that could lead to Parkinson’s and signs to look for in the early stages of the disease.

Dr. Tamm, a neurologist who is affiliated with HonorHealth and several hospitals in the area, was luncheon speaker at the meeting at Scottsdale’s McCormick Ranch Golf Club’s Pavilion.

Rotarian Gary Baker introduced the doctor, stating he received his medical degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine.  He received his board certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in 1977.

Dr. Tamm stated that Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement.

Symptoms start gradually, sometimes “with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. Tremors are common, but the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement,” according to a release.

Dr. Tamm stated the disease cannot be cured, but medications might significantly improve its symptoms.

Parkinson’s disease signs and symptoms may include tremor, slowed movement, rigid muscles, impaired posture and balance, loss of automatic movements (blinking, smiling) and speech changes.

Several risk factors play a role in causing the disease: environmental triggers such as exposure to toxins such as herbicides and pesticides, age and heredity, the doctor stated.

Dr. Tamm noted that research has shown that people who drink caffeine – which is found in coffee, tea and cola drinks – get Parkinson’s disease less often than those who do not drink it, but it remains unknown whether caffeine protects against the disease.

In closing, Dr. Tamm noted that regular aerobic exercise may reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease, emphasizing it is important to keep active.

For more information about the Rotary Club of Scottsdale speakers, projects, programs and meeting dates and locations, visit

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