Chi­ro­prac­tor to em­bark on char­ity ride as present to wife

North Penn Life - - Front Page - By Brian Binga­man bbinga­man@jour­nal­reg­is­ter. com

Can stalling the pro­gres­sion of Parkinson’s dis­ease be as sim­ple as rid­ing a bike?

Jodi Cianci is a liv­ing ex­am­ple. The West Chester res­i­dent and wife of chi­ro­prac­tor Christo­pher Cianci of To­tal Body oe­hab in Up­per Gwynedd was di­ag­nosed with the de­gen­er­a­tive neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­der just one year af­ter they were mar­ried.

Al­though Cianci has not had the tre­mors as­so­ci­ated with Parkinson’s, she lost func­tion­al­ity in her hands to the point where she had to step down from prac­tic­ing law be­cause of di­min­ished phys­i­cal abil­ity to type or write.

“I was mov­ing very stiffly. My neck wasn’t mov­ing prop­erly. I just wasn’t mov­ing as quickly as I used to be,” said Cianci, who had re­ceived di­ag­noses of a her­ni­ated disc, carpal tun­nel syn­drome and stress, be­fore tests at Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia Hospi­tal found that low lev­els of the brain chem­i­cal dopamine were in­deed a symp­tom of Parkinson’s.

Search­ing for an al­ter­na­tive to do­ing noth­ing or be­gin­ning a med­i­ca­tion sched­ule, the new­ly­weds vis­ited the Cleve­land Clinic in Ohio, where re­search was be­ing con­ducted on a con­nec­tion be­tween bi­cy­cling, the brain and the dis­ease.

Dr. Jay Al­berts told them that re­search showed that spin­ning or pedal­ing a bi­cy­cle at 80- 90 rpm for 45 min­utes three times a week — a rig­or­ous work­out, es­pe­cially for some­one with Parkinson’s — makes a dif­fer­ence, even though the prob­lems are with Cianci’s arms and not her legs.

Chris Cianci, an avid cy­clist for more than 25 years and a triath­lete, said that al­though his also-ath­letic wife had to be in­tro­duced to the pedal­ing work­out with “forced ex­er­cise” on a tan­dem bike, that kind of ex­er­cise “changes the cir­cuits of the brain in a way that’s good.”

“We went to the Cleve­land Clinic in March, took part of the pro­gram and brought it back to Bryn Mawr [oe­hab Hospi­tal],” said Jodi Cianci.

Af­ter six weeks of spin­ning, Chris Cianci no­ticed his wiIH’s finH PRWRU skiOOs re­turn­ing. They said that she is re­gain­ing hand func­tion and her hand­writ­ing, which had got­ten smaller and harder to read be­cause of the dis­ease, has be­come leg­i­ble again.

“If you do the ex­er­cise, you can stall the pro­gres­sion and re­verse the symp­toms,” said Jodi Cianci.

As a 52nd birthday present for his wife Oct. 5, Chris Cianci will un­der­take an eight-day, 520-mile jour­ney by bike to spread WhH wRUG DbRuW WhH bHnH­fi­cial ef­fects of cy­cling and raise funds for re­search for a cure for Parkinson’s.

The PD500 City-2-City Bike Tour be­gins at the Cleve­land Clinic Oct. 6 and ends at Bryn Mawr oe­hab Hospi­tal Oct. 13 with a Fam­ily Fun Day cel­e­bra­tion at noon.

“I can’t ask for a bet­ter gift than a cure for [my] birthday,” said Jodi Cianci, who will ride on a tan­dem bike with her hus­band for WhH fiUsW IHw PiOHs RuW RI Cleve­land.

The cou­ple has also founded a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion, Shake It Off Inc., to raise Parkinson’s aware­ness, pro­mote ad­vances in find­ing a cure and to help those with the dis­ease to “come out of the closet.”

Ac­cord­ing to Chris Cianci, al­though more than 1 mil­lion Amer­i­cans live with the dis­ease, and celebri­ties like Michael J. Fox and Muham­mad Ali have it, Parkinson’s pa­tients “are afraid to speak up” be­cause of the stigma as­so­ci­ated with the dis­ease or fear of los­ing their jobs.

“Parkinson’s gave me a pur­pose,” said Jodi Cianci.

The cou­ple be­lieves a cure for Parkinson’s is less than 10 years away.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the ride, visit www.shakeitof­f4pd.org.

Photo by GE­OFF PATTON

Jodi Cianci, left, ped­als on a bike next to her hus­band, Up­per Gwynedd chi­ro­prac­tor Chris Cianci, who will be­gin a week-long bike tour Oct. 6 to raise aware­ness and to raise money to find a cure for Parkinson’s.

Dr. Chris Cianci will be­gin his week-long bike tour Oct. 6 at the Cleve­land Clinic. Cianci’s wife, Jodi, will ride on a tan­dem bike for the first few miles of the trip.

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