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Welcome to Our Parkinson's Place


I copy news articles pertaining to research, news and information for Parkinson's disease, Dementia, the Brain, Depression and Parkinson's with Dystonia. I also post about Fundraising for Parkinson's disease and events. I try to be up-to-date as possible. I have Parkinson's
diseases as well and thought it would be nice to have a place where
updated news is in one place. That is why I began this blog.
I am not responsible for it's contents, I am just a copier of information searched on the computer. Please understand the copies are just that, copies and at times, I am unable to enlarge the wording or keep it uniformed as I wish. This is for you to read and to always keep an open mind.
Please discuss this with your doctor, should you have any questions, or concerns. Never do anything without talking to your doctor. I do not make any money from this website. I volunteer my time to help all of us to be informed. Please no advertisers. This is a free site for all.
Thank you.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Does 90 Percent of Our Brain Go Unused?


FoxFeed Blog


Posted by  Christina Brdey, July 17, 2014
Does 90 Percent of Our Brain Go Unused?
With the promotion around the new sci-fi thriller Lucy starring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman ramping up, The Atlantic took a shot at further debunking the myth that serves as the catalyst for the film’s plot – if humans only use 10 percent of their brain, what are the possibilities if they are able to unlock more?
Of course, the idea that “you only use 10 percent of your brain” is, indeed, 100 hundred percent bogus. Why has this myth persisted for so long, and when is it finally going to die? Unfortunately, not any time soon. A survey last year by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research found that 65 percent of Americans believe the myth is true.
So why do so many people continue to believe this is true? The Atlantic continues:
Joe LeDoux, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at NYU, thinks that people today may be thrown off by the “blobs” — the dispersed markers of high brain activity — seen in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the human brain. These blobs are often what people are talking about when they refer to the brain “lighting up.”
Certain regions of the brain are more specialized than others to deal with certain tasks, and most behavior depends on tight temporal coordination between those regions. Your visual system helps you locate that pint of beer, and your motor system gets your hand around it … The brain is a complex, constantly multi-tasking network of tissue.
While neurologists from the Mayo Clinic concluded that the human brain is active all the time, there is still a lot that we don’t know about it. Projects like the Brain Activity Map Initiative implemented by the Obama Administration last year aim to understand the complex workings of the entire human brain, which could unlock many clues for neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Researchers see promise in transplanted fetal stem cells for Parkinson's


Researchers at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital have found that fetal dopamine cells transplanted into the brains of patients with Parkinson's disease were able to remain healthy and functional for up to 14 years, a finding that could lead to new and better therapies for the illness.

"We have shown in this paper that the transplanted cells connect and live well and do all the required functions of nerve cells for a very long time," said Ole Isacson, MD (DR MED SCI), director of the Neuroregeneration Research Institute at McLean and a professor of neurology and neuroscience at Harvard Medical School.
The discovery, reported in the June 5, 2014 issue of the journal Cell Reports, could pave the way for researchers to begin transplanting neurons taken from  grown in laboratories, a way to get treatments to many more  in an easier fashion.
The researchers looked at the brains of five patients who got fetal  over a period of 14 years and found that their dopamine transporters (DAT), proteins that pump the neurotransmitter dopamine, and mitochondria, the power plants of cells, were still healthy at the time the patients died, in each case of causes other than Parkinson's.
The fact that these cells had remained healthy indicated that the transplants had been successful and that the transplanted cells had not been corrupted as some researchers had suggested they likely had been in other studies, said Dr. Isacson, lead author of the paper.
"These findings are critically important for the rational development of stem cell-based dopamine neuronal replacement therapies for Parkinson's," the paper concluded.
So far, about 25 patients worldwide have been treated with this particular method of transplanting fetal dopamine cells over a period of two decades and most saw their symptoms improve markedly, he said.
Fetal cell transplants can reduce both Parkinson's symptoms for many years and can reduce the need for dopamine replacement drugs, even though they can take months or years to start working, the paper said.
However, Dr. Isacson said proof had been lacking that the transplanted cells were able to remain healthy—until this study. This is important for research in the transplant field to move ahead, he said.
All of the patients were in the late stages of Parkinson's disease at the time of their transplants. Parkinson's is a disease characterized by tremors, rigidity, slowness of movement and poor balance. It is a chronic, progressive disease that results when dopamine-producing nerve cells in a part of the brain die or are impaired.
Dr. Isacson said there was a need to understand how transplanted neurons could survive despite ongoing disease process in the patients' brains. He said there has been controversy among scientists, some of whom believe that the transplanted cells could be corrupted by toxic proteins associated with the disease process, even at the same time patients seemed to be doing better.
"Everything we saw looked very healthy," he said, referring to the dopamine transporters and mitochondria cells.
He said the method used to transplant the cells into these patients' brains was different than another method used on about 60 other patients worldwide. In some of those other trials, scientists said the cells might have been damaged as a result of the disease process.
It may have been that the method used on the patients in this study, which injected tiny bits of liquefied dopamine nerve cells into the brain via a thin needle, was superior to the method used in other studies, which transplanted larger chunks of nerve cells using a larger needle, he said. The transplants on the patients in this study were done in Canada.
In this study, the researchers led by Dr. Isacson compared the patients' own dopamine producing cells with the transplanted ones. "We found very different patterns," he said.
The difference was seen in the DAT and mitochondria, which were unhealthy around the patients' own  and healthy around the transplanted ones. "The transplanted cells don't have the disease," he said.
"This is very important in the quest for new therapies," he added.
It is very difficult to obtain dopamine  from fetal tissue, he said. It would be far easier to grow the cells in a laboratory from stem , he noted. There have been no stem cell transplants as of yet for Parkinson's patients.
More information: Cell Reports, Hallett et al.: "Long-term dopamine transporter expression and normal cellular distribution of mitochondria in dopaminergic neuron transplants in Parkinson's disease patients.", www.cell.com/cell-reports/abst… 2211-1247(14)00419-7

Hunting down the trigger for Parkinson's: Failing dopamine pump damages brain cells

Hunting down the trigger for Parkinson’s: failing dopamine pump damages brain cells

Hunting down the trigger for Parkinson’s: failing dopamine pump damages brain cells
A study group at the Medical University of Vienna's Centre for Brain Research has investigated the function of an intracellular dopamine pump in Parkinson's patients compared to a healthy test group. It turned out that this pump is less effective at pumping out dopamine and storing it in the brain cells of Parkinson's sufferers. If dopamine is not stored correctly, however, it can cause self-destruction of the affected nerve cells.
In the , dopamine mediates the exchange of information between different neurons and, to help it do this, it is continuously reformed at the contact points between the corresponding nerve cells. It is stored in structures known as vesicles (intracellular bubbles) and it is released when required. In people with Parkinson's disease, the death of these nerve cells causes a lack of dopamine, and this in turn causes the familiar movement problems such as motor retardation, stiffness of the muscles and tremors.
More than 50 years ago, in the Institute of Pharmacology at the University of Vienna (now the MedUni Vienna), Herbert Ehringer and Oleh Hornykiewicz discovered that Parkinson's disease is caused by a lack of dopamine in certain regions of the brain. This discovery enabled Hornykiewicz to introduce the amino acid L-DOPA into the treatment of Parkinson's to substitute the dopamine and make the symptoms of the condition manageable for years.
The reasons for the death of nerve cells in Parkinson's disease are not yet fully understood, however, which is why it is still not possible to prevent the disease from developing. Nevertheless, dopamine itself, if it is not stored correctly in vesicles, can cause self-destruction of the affected nerve cells.
Now, a further step forward has been taken in the research into the causes of this disease: a study at the MedUni Vienna's Centre for Brain Research, led by Christian Pifl and the now 87-year-old Oleh Hornykiewicz, compared the brains of deceased Parkinson's patients with those of a neurologically healthy control group. For the first time, it was possible to prepare the dopamine-storing vesicles from the brains so that their ability to store dopamine by pumping it in could be measured in quantitative terms.
It turned out that the pumps in the vesicles of Parkinson's sufferers pumped the dopamine out less efficiently. "This pump deficiency and the associated reduction in dopamine storage capacity of the Parkinson's vesicles could lead to  collecting in the nerve cells, developing its toxic effect and destroying the ," explains Christian Pifl.
More information: Christian Pifl, Alex Rajput, Harald Reither, Javier Blesa, Carmen Cavada, José A. Obeso, Ali H. Rajput, Oleh Hornykiewicz – "Is Parkinson's disease a vesicular dopamine storage disorder? Evidence from a study in isolated synaptic vesicles of human and non-human primate striatum." Journal of Neuroscience

Study confirms creative energy in Parkinson's sufferers is greater than in healthy individuals




Study confirms creative energy in Parkinson's sufferers is greater than in healthy individuals

Prof. Rivka Inzelberg of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Sagol Neuroscience Center at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, documented the exceptional creativity of Parkinson's patients two years ago in a review for Behavioral Neuroscience. Since then, she has conducted the first empirical study to verify a link between Parkinson's disease and artistic inclination.

"It began with my observation that Parkinson's patients have a special interest in art and have creative hobbies incompatible with their 
," said Prof. Inzelberg. "In my last paper, I reviewed case studies from around the world and found them to be consistent. In my present research, we conducted the first comprehensive study to measure the creative thinking of Parkinson's patients. This was not a simple task, because how does one measure, or quantify, creativity? We had to think creatively ourselves."That , now published in theAnnals of Neurology, definitively demonstrates that Parkinson's  are more creative than their healthy peers, and that those patients taking higher doses of medication are more artistic than their less-medicated counterparts.
Measuring artistic creativity
Prof. Inzelberg and a team of researchers from TAU, the Sheba Medical Center, and Bar-Ilan University conducted a full battery of tests on 27 Parkinson's patients treated with anti-Parkinson's drugs and 27 age- and education-matched healthy controls. Some of the tests were well-known and others newly adapted for the purpose of the study. The tests included the Verbal Fluency exam, in which a person is asked to mention as many different words beginning with a certain letter and in a certain category (fruit, for example) as possible.
The participants were then asked to undergo a more challenging Remote Association Test, in which they had to name a fourth word (following three given words) within a fixed context. The groups also took the Tel Aviv University Creativity Test, which tested their interpretation of abstract images and assessed the imagination inherent in answers to questions like "What can you do with sandals?" The final exam was a version of the Test for a Novel Metaphor, adapted specifically for the study.
Throughout the testing, Parkinson's patients offered more original answers and more thoughtful interpretations than their healthy counterparts.

In order to rule out the possibility that the creative process evident in the hobbies of patients was linked to obsessive compulsions like gambling and hoarding, to which many Parkinson's patients fall prey, participants were also asked to fill out an extensive questionnaire. An analysis indicated no correlation between compulsive behavior and elevated creativity.
Express yourself
The conclusions from the second round of testing—in which the Parkinson's participants were split into higher- and lower-medicated groups—also demonstrated a clear link between medication and creativity. Parkinson's patients suffer from a lack of dopamine, which is associated with tremors and poor coordination. As such, they are usually treated with either synthetic precursors of dopamine or dopamine receptor agonists
According to Prof. Inzelberg, the results are hardly surprising, because dopamine and artistry have long been connected. "We know that Van Gogh had psychotic spells, in which high levels of dopamine are secreted in the brain, and he was able to paint masterpieces during these spells – so we know there is a strong relationship between creativity and dopamine," said Prof. Inzelberg.
Prof. Inzelberg hopes her research will be instrumental in spreading awareness. Parkinson's patients often feel isolated by their physical limitations, so artistic work could provide a welcome outlet of expression. "After my first paper, I helped organize exhibits of patients' paintings in Herzliya and Raanana and received feedback about similar exhibits in Canada and France," said Prof. Inzelberg. "These exhibits were useful in raising funds for Parkinson's research, providing occupational therapy for patients – and, most importantly, offering an opportunity for patients to fully express themselves."
Prof. Inzelberg is currently researching additional forms of  in Parkinson's patients.


Journal reference: Annals of Neurology  

Provided by Tel Aviv University 

Sleep disturbances, common in Parkinson's disease, can be early indicator of disease onset

Problems run the gamut from excessive wakefulness to excessive sleepiness, according to new review in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease

Amsterdam, NL, 10 July 2014 – Up to 70% of Parkinson's disease (PD) patients experience sleep problems that negatively impact their quality of life. Some patients have disturbed sleep/wake patterns such as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, while other patients may be subject to sudden and involuntary daytime sleep "attacks." In the extreme, PD patients may exhibit REM-sleep behavior disorder (RBD), characterized by vivid, violent dreams or dream re-enactment, even before motor symptoms appear. A review in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease discusses the underlying causes of sleep problems in PD, as well as medications, disease pathology, and comorbidities, and describes the most appropriate diagnostic tools and treatment options.
Sleep problems in PD patients can have wide-ranging adverse effects and can worsen in later stages of the disease. Sleepiness socially isolates patients and excessive sleepiness can put patients at risk of falls or injury, and can mean patients must give up driving. Sleepiness can impair cognition and concentration, exacerbate depression, and interfere with employment. Wakefulness at night impairs daytime wakefulness and may also cause mood instabilities and can exhaust caregivers.
"Diagnosis and effective treatment and management of these problems are essential for improving the quality of life and reducing institutionalization of these patients," says lead author Wiebke Schrempf, MD, Technische Universität Dresden, Faculty of Medicine Carl Gustav Carus, Department of Neurology, Division of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Dresden, Germany.
Dr. Schrempf and colleagues describe some of the complexities associated with treating sleep problems in PD patients, such as the worsening of sleep problems by dopaminergic medications used to treat motor symptoms. Lower doses of levodopa or dopamine agonists are able to improve sleep quality partly by reducing motor symptoms such as nighttime hypokinesia (decreased body movement), dyskinesia (abnormal voluntary movements), or tremor (involuntary shaking), which interfere with normal sleep. However, the same medications may also cause excessive daytime sleepiness. The report describes how changing medication, dose, duration of treatment, or timing of administration can improve outcomes.
The presence of other conditions common in PD patients such as depression, dementia, hallucinations, and psychosis may interfere with sleep. Unfortunately, some antidepressants can also impair sleep.
Sleep problems may also be harbingers of future neurodegenerative disease. Patients with RBD exhibit intermittent loss of normal muscle relaxation during REM sleep and engage in dream enactment behavior during which they may shout, laugh, or exhibit movements like kicking and boxing. "RBD seems to be a good clinical predictor of emerging neurodegenerative diseases with a high specificity and low sensitivity, whereas other early clinical features of PD, such as olfactory dysfunction and constipation, are less specific," says Dr. Schrempf. "These early clues may help identify PD patients before motor symptoms appear, when disease-modifying therapies may be most beneficial."
PD is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder in the United States, affecting approximately one million Americans and five million people worldwide. Its prevalence is projected to double by 2030. The most characteristic symptoms are movement-related, such as involuntary shaking and muscle stiffness. Non-motor symptoms, such as worsening depression, cognition, and anxiety, olfactory dysfunction, and sleep disturbances, can appear prior to the onset of motor symptoms.
###
Contact: Daphne Watrin
d.watrin@iospress.nl
31-206-883-355
IOS Press 

SOCIAL PHOBIAS ARE COMMON IN PARKINSON'S DISEASE

17th July 2014 - New research






Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment [2014] 10 : 829-834 (B.K.Gultekin, B.Ozdilek, E.E.

Bestepe) Complete abstract : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24926195

Researchers aimed to investigate the frequency of social phobias in people with Parkinson's Disease. They also explored the relationship between social phobia and the characteristics of Parkinson's Disease, and the frequency of other psychiatric disorders in Parkinson's Disease.
Social phobia (Social anxiety disorder) is a persistent fear about social situations and being around people. Much more than just shyness it can causes intense, overwhelming fear over what may just be an everyday activity like shopping or speaking on the phone. People affected by it may fear doing or saying something they think will be humiliating. For morenformation go to : http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-anxiety/pages/social-anxiety.aspx

Social phobia was diagnosed in 42% of people with Parkinson's Disease. Social phobia simultaneously occurred with depression in 58% of people with Parkinson's Disease. It occurred simultaneously with anxiety in 53% of people with Parkinson's Disease and with panic disorder in 17% of people with Parkinson's Disease. Social phobia was more frequent in : males, early-onset Parkinson's Disease, people with a long duration of Parkinson's Disease, the presence of postural instability, and with the use of a high L-dopa intakes.
Social phobia is frequently observed in Parkinson's Disease. Therefore, researchers suggest that the assessment of people with Parkinson's Disease patients should always include psychiatric evaluations, particularly for social phobia.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Singing Helps Parkinson’s Patients


Last year Linda Ronstadt announced that she has Parkinson’s disease and can no longer sing. In an AARP Magazine interview she stated, “No one can sing with Parkinson’s. No matter how hard you try.” Music therapists and other experts who work with Parkinson’s disease patients, say this is not true. While she may no longer be able to sing, many people can and do sing, and for some, it is part of their Parkinson’s treatment.
Melinda C. Kurowski, MA, MT-BC, a board certified music therapist in Rochester, New York, works with Parkinson’s patients. We spoke to her to find out how singing can help people suffering from the disease.

MM: In your experience, can people sing with Parkinson’s?

Kurowski: Yes, they can sing. I was surprised to see Linda’s comment. Parkinson’s presents differently person to person and the onset of progression of the disease is really not consistent. Even the amount and severity of symptoms are variable so to say that no one can sing is extreme I think.

MM: How does the disease affect the ability to sing?

Kurowski: It’s a disorder of the nervous system affecting movement. Think about the movements involved in speech, and singing specifically; the muscles involved in providing breath support start to be affected. Skills that once were automatic, now require increasing energy. A lot of people that I work with tell me that they don’t even notice that anything has changed with their vocal volume until their spouses or their friends ask them to repeat themselves. Their muscles are becoming weaker and they don’t respond as readily. Vocal cords need to come together fully in order to seal and vibrate and create sound. Without enough breath support you end up with gaps between the vocal folds. Or one vocal cord may get a little sluggish and not come together as it should. You end up with an airy or quieter sound.

MM: How can speech therapy help Parkinson’s patients retain or restore their ability to sing?

Kurowski: I think the key element is increasing awareness of the process of being able to speak and to sing. So they take part in exercises that teach them what’s involved in breath support. They’ve got to support it from the diaphragm. Where is that in the body? How can they use it better? How do they sustain their voice? Working on things like that helps them to use what they still have better. I think a lot of us take for granted that we can speak and have a conversation with one another. When we use the resources available to us more efficiently, we can be even louder and talk for longer periods of time. Singers do that all the time. When they get trained they learn how to project their voices and how to hold notes. I kind of like to think of singing as the jogging of speech. It takes a little more effort to sing than it does to speak.

MM: How is singing used as a therapy?

Kurowski: I think just the process of singing [is beneficial]. When you are working on a certain skill over and over it can be a tedious process, so adding the element of music, singing in this case, can make the process so much more enjoyable. Plus it does require more energy and effort to create a song sound, than a spoken sound, so you are getting in a little bit of extra exercise or work when you sing.
The majority of the people that I work with have never sung professionally. I feel like singing can be intimidating, especially if you’ve been told that you don’t have a good voice. You don’t have to be a singer like Linda Ronstadt to be able to sing in a group and to sing well. The focus isn’t really on the perfection of sound, it’s on being willing to try. People find that, when the pressure is taken off, they enjoy it and they are quite good at it. Sometimes they are surprised to find that their instrument is actually still alive and strong. Through very basic singing exercises they develop a better awareness of how to project their voices and how to have better articulation. It’s a very enjoyable way to work on some things that may be disheartening.

MM: What percentage of people with Parkinson’s disease are you able to help in some way to be able to sing again?

Kurowski: I would say in the high 90s. It’s tough to put it into a percentage, but pretty much everybody who has come to work with me on these exercises says that, in particular, their spouses notice a difference. I’m really glad to be able to use something that I love, music, to help people to be able to have conversations with the people they care about. I am very passionate about it.

–Music is always helpful; check out these two articles Songwriting With Soldiers and The Never Ending Power of Music where music is used in amazing ways.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Questions and Answers About Exercise and Parkinson’s Disease

NPA

Though you may be tempted to cut out exercise altogether, doing regular exercise such as yoga, walking or swimming can actually help improve flexibility and mobility and reduce muscle and joint pain. In fact, more and more studies are finding that regular physical activity offers therapeutic effects for people with Parkinson’s. Here’s why:
  • There is a lot of truth to the saying “Use it or lose it.” Regular exercise builds muscle and bone and improves flexibility and balance.
  • Vigorous (aerobic) exercise helps to maintain lung capacity.
  • Many forms of exercise keep you socially active.
  • Exercise improves mood and boosts self confidence.
  • Exercise might slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

I have never been an athletic person. How do I start exercising?

First things first---get your doctor’s okay. Be sure to consult with all specialists you see. Start slowly. If you try to do too much too quickly, you are more likely to become injured, especially if you are attempting something unfamiliar. If it hurts, stop. If you have access to a personal trainer who is familiar with Parkinson’s disease, ask him or her to tailor an exercise program to your health needs and preferences.

What type of exercise is best?

Today, most neurologists agree that “whichever type you enjoy and thus will do regularly” will be the most beneficial. The key is to build physical activity into your everyday routine. Here are some activities you might want to investigate:
  • Golf is still a viable form of exercise and social activity for most people with Parkinson’s.
  • Walking is a great choice because you can do it almost anywhere, and all you need is a good pair of walking shoes! To stay motivated, invite a friend to join you.
  • Bicycling is something that can be done by almost anyone. If your tremors or balance issues interfere with riding a conventional bike, try a recumbent trike or a tandem bike. If you are unable to ride outside, consider riding indoors on a stationary bicycle.
  • Dancing may not look like exercise, but it can provide a thorough physical and mental workout. There are several dance programs for people with Parkinson’s. They include ballroom dancing programs, Dance for PD® and Tango for Parkinson’s. One caution: if you are not taking a class through a clinic or a Parkinson’s group, it is a good idea to check the instructor’s qualifications and experience before signing up.
  • Swimming and other water programs offer a weightless environment in which to exercise and stretch. Many health clubs, hospitals and YMCA\YWCAs have warmer pools for their classes with people with arthritis or Parkinson’s.
  • Tai chi and qi gong (pronounced chi kung) are two ancient Chinese practices that involve movement, breathing and meditation. They have been shown to improve both motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s. Most programs for people with Parkinson’s offer seated as well as standing exercises to accommodate varying levels of physical stability.
  • Yoga for Parkinson’s is available at many NPF Centers of Excellence and movement disorder centers. Having an instructor who is specially educated in Parkinson’s is essential.

I have arthritis too, so it is difficult for me to stand. Can I still exercise?

Yes, but first check with all of you doctors to get their approval. Then look for classes such as seated dance, tai chi and qi gong, or yoga in your area. Swimming or water aerobics for arthritis might be beneficial, too. You can also incorporate some exercises into your activities of daily living (ADLs), such as getting dressed, walking across the room, etc.
In conclusion, get moving! Don't change your exercise regimen. However, if you have to because of your symptoms, find the type of exercise that is right for you and that you can enjoy and start doing it today

Monday, July 14, 2014

Does Parkinson's hurt ?



Questions and Answers About Pain in Parkinson’s Disease

While many family doctors and even some neurologists will tell you that Parkinson’s disease does not hurt, most people with the disease will probably disagree. In fact, pain might have been one of the early symptoms that, when combined with other signs, first compelled you to see a doctor. Chances are, if you did not experience pain as an early symptom, it will show up later, as your disease progresses. Usually, it occurs or is worse on the side of your body that is most affected by Parkinson’s. In Parkinson’s, the type of pain and its location vary from person to person. But because there are many reasons you may experience pain, you will first need to determine whether your pain is associated with Parkinson’s or some other condition such as arthritis. Here are four questions and answers about pain in Parkinson’s disease.

What type of pain occurs with Parkinson’s disease?

The types of pain associated with Parkinson’s include: aching or burning pain from muscles or skeleton, sharp pain from a nerve or nerve root, numbness or “pins and needles” pain also radiating from a nerve or nerve root, pulsing or aching pain that results from tightness or ongoing twisting and writhing movements (dyskinesia), restlessness caused from akathisia, and sudden, sharp burning pain that occurs for no known reason.

What drug treatments are commonly prescribed for pain?

Dopamine agonists are often the neurologist’s first weapon to alleviate Parkinson’s-related pain. Levodopa is used to treat many types of pain due to Parkinson’s because it treats the motor symptoms such as rigidity and dystonia that are causing them. Other medicines called analgesics can also be used to treat pain. When talking with your doctor, it is critical to let her know about all of the medications you are taking– including over the counter drugs, herbs, vitamins and mineral supplements. Without complete information, your doctor may prescribe a drug that could have serious adverse effects.

What non-drug therapies are used to treat pain?

Physical therapy is probably the most common non-drug treatment. Massage, therapeutic ultrasound, heat and/or ice, stretching and strengthening exercises and aerobic activities are some of the methods used to reduce pain by a therapist. Ideally, you should work with an experienced licensed physical therapist (LPT). Acupuncture has been shown to relieve pain. The procedure involves the insertion of fine needles into various points on the body to treat physical and mental conditions. As with physical therapy, it is a good idea to pursue a skilled and qualified practitioner. Tai chi and yoga treat pain in two ways. Both help to increase flexibility and reduce muscle stiffness through poses and postures. Also, both therapies incorporate breathing exercises, which facilitate relaxation. Many hospitals, clinics or care centers offer modified classes geared toward people with Parkinson’s. Exercise. An appropriate exercise regimen can strengthen bones and muscles, increase flexibility and improve mood. Here are a few things to consider before getting started:
  • Work with your healthcare providers to develop a plan that suits your individual health needs and preferences.
  • Realize that you will have to take part in these therapies more than once before you see any benefit.
  • None of these therapies is a cure-all. Each person's journey with Parkinson's is unique, and so is his or her experience with pain. Thus, everyone’s treatment plan will be unique.

I’m in pain, but I don’t want to take carbidopa/levodopa yet because my doctor says it will only work for five years. Any advice?

It is true that as time passes and your disease progresses, you will have to take higher doses to replace the dopamine your body can no longer produce. However, the rate of dopamine loss is different for everyone. What your doctor may be telling you is that after taking carbidopa/levodopa for some time, you may begin to experience side effects like dyskinesia. It is important to understand that while you may experience this unwanted side effect, for example, you still benefit from the carbidopa/levodopa. If you believe your pain is Parkinson’s-related, and you have already tried other medications and complementary therapies without relief, it is probably time to try carbidopa/levodopa.
Yes, Parkinson's can hurt, but treatment is available. Dont wait to talk to your doctor about this symptom.

Cinnamon May Be Used to Halt the Progression of Parkinson’s disease



July 08,2014


Study Results Published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology          
(CHICAGO) – Neurological scientists at Rush University Medical Center have found that using cinnamon, a common food spice and flavoring material, can reverse the biomechanical, cellular and anatomical changes that occur in the brains of mice with Parkinson’s disease (PD).  The results of the study were recently published in the June 20 issue of the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology.“Cinnamon has been used widely as a spice throughout the world for centuries,” said Kalipada Pahan, PhD, study lead researcher and the Floyd A. Davis professor of neurology at Rush.  “This could potentially be one of the safest approaches to halt disease progression in Parkinson’s patients.”

“Cinnamon is metabolized in the liver to sodium benzoate, which is an FDA-approved drug used in the treatment for hepatic metabolic defects associated with hyperammonemia,” said Pahan.  It is also widely used as a food preservative due to its microbiocidal effect.

Chinese cinnamon (Cinnamonum cassia) and original Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamonum verum) are two major types of cinnamon that are available in the US.

“Although both types of cinnamon are metabolized into sodium benzoate, by mass spectrometric analysis, we have seen that Ceylon cinnamon is much more pure than Chinese cinnamon as the latter contains coumarin, a hepatotoxic molecule,” said Pahan.

“Understanding how the disease works is important to developing effective drugs that protect the brain and stop the progression of PD,” said Pahan.  “It is known that some important proteins like Parkin and DJ-1 decrease in the brain of PD patients.”

The study found that after oral feeding, ground cinnamon is metabolized into sodium benzoate, which then enters into the brain, stops the loss of Parkin and DJ-1, protects neurons, normalizes neurotransmitter levels, and improves motor functions in mice with PD.

This research was supported by grants from National Institutes of Health.

Now we need to translate this finding to the clinic and test ground cinnamon in patients with PD. If these results are replicated in PD patients, it would be a remarkable advance in the treatment of this devastating neurodegenerative disease,” said Dr. Pahan.

Parkinson's disease is a slowly progressive disease that affects a small area of cells within the mid-brain known as the substantia nigra. Gradual degeneration of these cells causes a reduction in a vital chemical neurotransmitter, dopamine. The decrease in dopamine results in one or more of the classic signs of Parkinson's disease that includes: resting tremor on one side of the body; generalized slowness of movement; stiffness of limbs; and gait or balance problems. The cause of the disease is unknown. Both environmental and genetic causes of the disease have been postulated.

Parkinson's disease affects about 1.2 million patients in the United States and Canada. Although 15 percent of patients are diagnosed before age 50, it is generally considered a disease that targets older adults, affecting one of every 100 persons over the age of 60. This disease appears to be slightly more common in men than women.


FREQUENT MISDIAGNOSIS OF PARKINSON'S DISEASE




14th July 2014 - New research

Neurology [2014] Jun 27[Epub ahead of print] (C.H.Adler, T.G.Beach, J.G.Hentz, H.A.Shill,J.N.Caviness, E.Driver-Dunckley, M.N.Sabbagh, L.I.Sue, S.A.Jacobson, C.M.Belden, B.N.
Dugger) Complete abstract : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24975862





Researchers aimed to determine the diagnostic accuracy of a clinical diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease using neuropathologic diagnosis as the standard. The accuracy of diagnosis was found to be very poor.
Data were used to determine the predictive value of a clinical Parkinson's Disease diagnosis, using two clinical diagnostic confidence levels :
Poss PD (never treated or not clearly responsive) and ProbPD (responsive to medications).

Using neuropathologic findings of Parkinson's Disease as the
standard, this study established a finding of only 26%
accuracy for a clinical diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease in
untreated patients, 53% accuracy in early Parkinson's Disease
of less than five years duration that was responsive to
medication, and 85% diagnostic accuracy in Parkinson's
Disease of longer duration that was medication-responsive.

Clinical variables that improved diagnostic accuracy were medication response, motor fluctuations, dyskinesias, and hyposmia (reduced sense of smell).

This study showed that a clinical diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease identifies people who will have pathologically confirmed Parkinson's Disease with a sensitivity of 88% and specificity of 68%. For more information concerning the diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease

Laughter is the Best Medicine



Laughter is the Best Medicine

The Health Benefits of Humor and Laughter

Humor is infectious. The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze. When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. Laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to useLaughter is strong medicine for mind and body
“Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.”
~ Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D.
Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.
With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for surmounting problems, enhancing your relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional health.

Laughter is good for your health

  • Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
  • Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
  • Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
  • Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
The Benefits of Laughter
Physical Health Benefits:
  • Boosts immunity
  • Lowers stress hormones
  • Decreases pain
  • Relaxes your muscles
  • Prevents heart disease
Mental Health Benefits:
  • Adds joy and zest to life
  • Eases anxiety and fear
  • Relieves stress
  • Improves mood
  • Enhances resilience
Social Benefits:
  • Strengthens relationships
  • Attracts others to us
  • Enhances teamwork
  • Helps defuse conflict
  • Promotes group bonding