I Ask This Of You!

I have Parkinson's diseases and thought it would be nice to have a place where the contents of updated news is found in one place. That is why I began this blog.

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 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. I will not accept any information about Herbal treatments curing Parkinson's, dementia and etc. It will go into Spam.

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Thank you for visiting!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Vibrating PDShoe May Help Gait in Parkinson's

A potential new Parkinson's disease therapy that may help with freezing of gait is being developed at the University of Delaware in collaboration with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. 
The technology, called the PDShoe, involves force sensors and a vibration system that vibrates every time a subject's foot touches the ground. The shoe, which is similar in theory to that of 19thcentury neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot's vibration chair, is the brainchild of University of Delaware (UD) professor of mechanical engineering Sunil Agrawal and Ingrid Pretzer-Aboff, an assistant professor of nursing at UD. 
The shoe therapy has so far been tested on 27 subjects to evaluate stride length and stance-to-swing ratio, and also allows clinicians to collect data on subjects remotely while they are in their own home. 
“We found that the PDShoes were able to discern differences between healthy and PD subjects,” said Kyle Winfree, a doctoral student at UD. “We also observed a therapeutic effect in PD patients after just nine sessions of vibration therapy.”
The researchers are collecting data on 16 different measures in order to evaluate factors such as gait consistency, and plan to start a larger study to further test the effectiveness of the treatment. The research team also plans to focus on new cell phone technology in order to make the shoe more affordable.

7 Things to Do the Day After Your Parkinson's Disease Diagnosis

FoxFeed Blog

If newly diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease

Posted by  Darcy Blake, January 30, 2015

You’ve just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and you’re frazzled. What to do now? Here’s a tip-a-day to get you through the first week after diagnosis.
1. Do a little quality breathing. “Take a deep breath,” you say to yourself when your day gets shaky. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and PD progression won’t be either. But what about HOW you take that breath? If you don’t know what that means, check out a 3-part breath tutorial on Kaitlyn Roland’s fabulous blog. She has all kinds of useful information for PD people there.  
2. If you are fretting about the accuracy of your diagnosis, set up a second opinion appointment with another doctor. There is simply no reason to worry and wonder over the validity of your diagnosis. Even if it costs you an extra chunk of change, it is worth it to know that two doctors concur or do not. Don’t waste an ounce of energy doubting yourself or pouring over useless “what if’s.” Check out Dr. Melanie Brandabur’s post on choosing a doctorEditor's note: If you're in the United States, you can also search for a movement disorder specialist, a neurologist with additional training in Parkinson's disease, in your area using the Movement Disorder Specialist Finder.
3. Set yourself up with an exercise regime and make it a priority. Evidence that exercise is a major contributor to your future good health is overwhelmingly persuasive. If you have PD, you must get your body moving. You might check out the very wise words of Daniel Corcos, Ph.D., Chair of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and Director of the Neural Control Of Movement Laborary at UIC.
4. Take a look at your diet. Are you eating a balanced diet, or are living on sodas and junk food? You are what you eat and you might have to get yourself into gear. Diet advice abounds and you might want to check out Dr. Melanie Brandabur’s E-Nutrition Notes
5. Line yourself up with a good support group. Kindred souls are so comforting and reassuring, not to mention, informative. They can make a big difference in your outlook and emotional well-being. You need positive reinforcement, and not a negative group that brings you down. Of course, Parkinson’s Women Support is the most wonderful group. We meet monthly for lunch and blab daily on our Facebook page and frequently on this blog. If you live far away from us and you can’t find support groups in your area, consider starting your own group. We did it and it can be done. Find a doctor who is willing to hook you up with a like-minded person and from there you can branch out and multiply. If that doctor can’t refer many patients to you, try others too.
6. Develop a good relationship with your doctor.  Dr. Melanie Brandabur has an excellent article all about this on our blog. Remember, it is a partnership between you and your doctor. 
7. Hug your family and friends and vow to do something good for the world. You can make a meaningful difference in life, even with PD. This is your answer to your diagnosis. World, look out, here I come!

Friday, January 30, 2015

New technologies to help patients with Parkinson's disease

Jan. 30, 2015

The research group of Life Supporting Technologies from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) has developed a decision support system for healthcare experts that helps them to manage the information generated from the low-cost which are worn by the patients. These sensors continuously collect and process the accelerometry signals and they automatically detect and quantify the symptom of the patient. All this enables to build a profile of the disease for each patient and achieve a customized treatment.
Population ageing is a global phenomenon caused by improved health systems and demographic changes. In other words, this occurs due to rising life expectancy and declining birth rates. This new reality is a matter of ongoing concern worldwide. Beyond its strictly demographic dimension, population ageing is alarming due to its social, political and financial effects because despite we live longer, we spend more time sick.
Chronic diseases are a growing concern in our society, and this makes necessary to develop and implement some new strategies within the healthcare system that allow doctors to effectively manage these kinds of diseases and improve life quality of patients and the attention and efficiency of the health system. New technologies can bring a great value in this matter by monitoring patients in an easy and effective way.
In this respect, the group of Life Supporting Technologies at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid has been working on the design and development of new mobile phone applications combined with wearable sensors networks than can be used for continuous non-invasive monitoring of patients with Parkinson's disease. This research group has led the PERFORM project (A soPhisticatEd multi-paRametric system FOR the continuous effective assessment and Monitoring of motor status in Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases), an European research project partially funded by the European Commission through the Seventh Framework Programme whose consortium includes universities, hospitals, SMEs and big companies from Spain, Italy, United kingdom, Poland, Cyprus and Greece.
The research aim is the usage of low-cost wearable sensors that can continuously collect and process the accelerometry signals to automatically detect and quantify the symptoms of the patient. Once we this is done, the information is sent to hospital to generate a daily report that will alert the doctor in case of any outlier.
This information is used to develop a decision support system for medical experts in order to help them to manage the generated information and to build a disease profile for each patient, and to achieve a personalized treatment. These researchers not only have worked on the design of the sensors and the algorithms used to monitor patients but also have studied how to improve the user experience for these kinds of systems even among people that are unfamiliar with new technologies.
This group is also working on another project consisting of the usage of aural stimulus, both acoustic patterns which are specifically compound and commercial music. These stimuli are integrated into a  application in a way that patients with Parkinson's disease can do exercises. The aim of this application is that patients can do exercises that help them to improve some motor aspects, especially those related to motion at home. In order to monitor the progress of the , this application also uses accelerometers and gyroscopes which are included in most of the latest phones Explore further: Researchers develop a new distance rehabilitation system for patients with heart pathologies
More information: "Wearability Assessment of a Wearable System for Parkinson's Disease Remote Monitoring Based on a Body Area Network of Sensors". Sensors, 2014; 14(9):17235-17255. DOI: DOI: 10.3390/s140917235.

Sensors may keep hospitalized patients from falling

UA researchers are using wearable sensors to predict patients' risk of falls.

(Medical Xpress)—To keep hospitalized patients safer, University of Arizona researchers are working on new technology that involves a small, wearable sensor that measures a patient's activity, heart rate, wakefulness and other biometrics – data that can predict a fall before it happens.More than 500,000 hospitalized patients fall each year in U.S. hospitals, resulting in 150,000 injuries, according to an estimate from the National Patient Safety Foundation.
The problem prompted Cindy Rishel, the University of Arizona Medical Center's administrator of nursing research and practice, to find a solution.
"We currently use the Heinrich II fall  to determine patients' risk for falling," Rishel explained. "But it's not as thorough as we'd like, and often our assessment of risk is subjective when based on patient self-reporting."
Bijan Najafi, UA associate professor of surgery, medicine and engineering and director of the interdisciplinary Consortium on Advanced Motion Performance, or iCAMP, along with his team of engineers, welcomed the challenge.
In the study, Najafi and his team are using Zephyr BioModule sensors to continuously track patients' skin temperature, physical activity, , respirations and echocardiogram readings. The more than 2 gigabytes of patient data collected daily per sensor is then plotted against an algorithm that estimates fall risk.
Zephyr Technology, based in Annapolis, Maryland, agreed to lend UAMC the equipment and technology for the study, with any additional costs and staff time provided by iCAMP, an interdisciplinary research and development collaboration among a host of teams, including podiatric and vascular surgery, orthopedics, nursing, geriatrics, anthropology and engineering at the UA.
The  will collect a massive amount of data regarding patient activity while in the hospital, and will help more accurately pinpoint which patients are most likely to fall. Although the study is solely collecting data for this phase, eventually the system could be used to alert nursing staff or even a family member when a fall seems imminent.
The yearlong study began in September 2013 in a hematology/oncology unit at UAMC – University Campus. The population was chosen for its typically longer hospital stays and increased risk for  and bleeding.
"Our patients enjoy being a part of research studies because they understand these things strengthen our ability to care for them," said Jessica Schroder, a UAMC registerd nurse and clinical leader of the unit involved in the study. "The Zephyr sensor is small and lightweight, and our patients like that it doesn't beep or blink at them like many other things they get hooked up to."
So far, 43  have participated. Najafi and Rishel are in the process of requesting an extension to allow them to involve 100 participants and further strengthen their findings.
"We are lucky to have the support of the nursing staff in the participating unit, which is key to ensure the final product is patient-centric," Najafi said.

Team Wins $1.7 Million to Develop Stem Cell Quality Control Methods

The technology we are developing is similar to that now used for diagnosing cancers,” says Professor Jeanne Loring.

A team at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has won a $1,784,000 grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). The funding will support the development of a new method for detecting DNA damage in stem cells to ensure that only the highest quality cells are used in transplantation or therapy.
“Sometimes even the most promising therapy can be derailed by a tiny problem,” says Jonathan Thomas, chair of the CIRM Board, which voted to fund this and other proposals in the agency’s Tools and Technologies initiative. “These awards are designed to help find ways to overcome those problems, to bridge the gaps in our knowledge and ensure that the best research is able to keep progressing and move out of the lab and into clinical trials in patients.”
Professor Jeanne Loring, Ph.D., is principal investigator for the TSRI project. 
“The technology we are developing is similar to that now used for diagnosing cancers,” said Loring. “In this case, the test—which is fast and simple to use—will enable researchers to detect abnormal cells in stem cell populations.”
Quality control is an important step to ensure the safety and efficacy of potential therapies using stem cells—which possess the ability to develop into many other distinct cell types, such as nerve, heart, or lung cells, and hold promise for repairing damaged tissue from a range of diseases and injuries.
One line of work funded by the new grant will focus specifically on quality control of potential stem cell therapies for Parkinson’s disease.
Another line of work, which includes members of Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, will develop methods for ensuring the reliability of drug screening using stem cells.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


Distribution channels: Healthcare & PharmaceuticalsTechnology ...

CARLSBAD, CA--(Marketwired - January 29, 2015) - International Stem Cell Corporation (OTCQB: ISCO), a California-based biotechnology company developing novel stem cell based therapies and biomedical products, today announced that the company has completed the required preclinical studies and plans to begin the phase 1/2a clinical study of the company's cell therapy for the treatment of Parkinson's disease in Australia within the next few months. 
ISCO has formed an Australian subsidiary, Cyto Therapeutics Pty Ltd, to manage the regulatory submission to the Australian Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) and the up-and-coming clinical study. The submission includes non-clinical studies evaluating the safety and tolerability of the clinical product, ISC-hpNSC, in different animal species, including non-human primates, along with the chemistry and manufacturing controls and a summary of the clinical study design. 
"Having successfully completed the preclinical studies, including the large-scale GLP primate and rodent studies with no adverse events, we believe that our clinical product is safe and that it can have a disease modifying effect as evidenced by increased brain dopamine levels and various behavioral tests," said Ruslan Semechkin Ph.D., ISCO's Chief Scientific Officer. 
The company previously announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared ISCO's parthenogenetic stem cells, the starting material for the production of ISC-hpNSC, for clinical use. ISCO believes that its chemistry and manufacturing controls, which ensure that each batch of cells produced at the company's GMP facility in Oceanside, California is subject to standardized quality control and assurance, meets both the US FDA and the Australian TGA standards.
About International Stem Cell Corporation
International Stem Cell Corporation is focused on the therapeutic applications of human parthenogenetic stem cells (hpSCs) and the development and commercialization of cell-based research and cosmetic products. ISCO's core technology, parthenogenesis, results in the creation of pluripotent human stem cells from unfertilized oocytes (eggs). hpSCs avoid ethical issue associated with the use or destruction of viable human embryos. ISCO scientists have created the first parthenogenetic homozygous stem cell line that can be a source of therapeutic cells for hundreds of millions of individuals of differing genders, ages and racial background with minimal immune rejection after transplantation. hpSCs offer the potential to create the first true stem cell bank, UniStemCell™. ISCO also produces and markets specialized cells and growth media for therapeutic research worldwide through its subsidiary Lifeline Cell Technology (, and stem cell-based skin care products through its subsidiary Lifeline Skin Care ( More information is available at and
To receive ongoing corporate communications, please click on the following link:
Forward-looking Statements
Statements pertaining to anticipated developments, the expected timing and results of preclinical studies and subsequent regulatory filings, the potential benefits of research programs and products, and other opportunities for the company and its subsidiaries, along with other statements about the future expectations, beliefs, goals, plans, or prospects expressed by management constitute forward-looking statements. Any statements that are not historical fact (including, but not limited to statements that contain words such as "will," "believes," "plans," "anticipates," "expects," "estimates,") should also be considered to be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks inherent in the development and/or commercialization of potential products, regulatory approvals, need and ability to obtain future capital, application of capital resources among competing uses, and maintenance of intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements and as such should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect the company's business, particularly those mentioned in the cautionary statements found in the company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The company disclaims any intent or obligation to update forward-looking statements. 

International Stem Cell Corporation
Simon Craw, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President
Phone: 760-940-6383

Ruslan Semechkin, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer
Phone: 760-940-6383

Tony Russo, Ph.D.
Phone: 212-845-4251

Martina Schwarzkopf, Ph.D.
Phone: (212) 845-4292

Placebo Effect: Pricier “Drugs” May Be More Effective For Patients With Parkinson's Disease

January 28,2015
A new study looks at the effect of drug prices on patient outcomes using placebos. The results show that patients achieved better results with expensive "drugs" rather than cheap versions. Finding ways for physicians to harness the power of placebos is a renewed focus for researchers.  

At long last, there may be a thin silver lining to high drug costs. A new study shows that a handful of patients who received fake treatments for Parkinson’s disease experienced improved symptoms. This placebo effect was stronger for one of two “drugs” that patients were told was more expensive--though only when the expensive drug was administered first.
Dr. Alberto Espay, the head researcher and a neuroscientist at the University of Cincinnati, says physicians may be able to leverage the power of a placebo to help patients, without writing more prescriptions. 
Researchers have long known that a fake drug can cause changes based purely on a patient’s expectations about its intended purpose – to relieve pain, for instance -- even if the “drug” is a sugar pill with no proven pharmacological value. Now, it appears that the perceived price of a fake drug may strengthen this placebo effect.
“That's a new wrinkle on the placebo story,” Espay says. He reported his findings from a small study of 12 patients with Parkinson’s disease on Wednesday in Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Parkinson’s disease is a nervous system disorder characterized by low levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that transfers signals between cells. The lack of dopamine causes victims to gradually lose control over muscles.
Espay told patients that he was studying two drugs that were priced differently but thought to have similar effects. He told patients that the first “drug” cost $1,500 and that the second one cost $100. Then, Espay injected each of them with the two placebos. After each dose, patients underwent brain scans and performed a series of tests to measure motor skills. Espay compared the results of each placebo with the effects of a drug called levodopa, a leading treatment for Parkinson’s.
He found that the expensive placebo injection improved motor skills in patients by 10 percent as compared with the cheap injection, so long as the expensive injection was administered first. However, the results did not hold when the cheap injection was given to patients first. Espay says the results for the expensive injection even rivaled those from levodopa but John Kelley, director of the program in placebo studies at Harvard Medical School, disagrees based on the fact that the statistical analysis is based on only 12 patients. 
Espay likens the placebo effect of drug prices to shopping for expensive wine. In fact, he said his latest work was partly inspired by a study he once read about how wine drinkers rate expensive wine as tastier even if there is no difference in the wine itself. “In medicine, there really isn't any reason for us to think a brand name drug should be any different in quality,” Espay says. “But there is a very important thought among patients that their response should be better if they're on the brand name.”
Kelley says cheap drugs have at times been shown to have lower efficacy based on patient perception, but he doesn't think Espay's analysis is clear evidence of that since the effect was only detected when the expensive placebo was administered first. 
"Overall, it doesn't seem like there's much difference between the cheap and expensive," Kelley says. "Given that's [Espay's] principle outcome, that seems problematic."
Researchers have only begun to understand the full effects of placebos and still have a ways to go in figuring out how the effect occurs. Achieving a better understanding may help companies and researchers create better controls to take the full impact of placebos into account when testing new drugs. As Dr. Peter LeWitt of Wayne State University writes in an editorial accompanying Espay's study, “The effects of placebo can confound clinical trial outcomes or lead to endorsement of worthless treatments.”
Espay has worked with or served in an advisory role for a number of drug companies including Eli Lilly and Company and Novartis.
Espay and Kelley both say there may also be ways for physicians to incorporate the lessons of the placebo effect into everyday consultations. Espay suggests that doctors talk with patients about the expense of developing drugs, for example, to heighten a patient’s sense of their value or emphasize the effectiveness of a treatment to raise expectations of success. “It's rather poignant when you think about it,” says Espay. “Placebo in Parkinson’s disease is really about the patient themselves, without any pharmacological interventions, coming up with results only from their expectations of the experience.”  
It’s important to note that people with Parkinson’s disease tend to experience stronger placebo effects than average. Espay says this could be because placebos somehow boost dopamine levels, which therefore brings an exaggerated effect to the dopamine-starved brains of patients. Furthermore, Espay’s study was limited in size because of ethical concerns about lying to patients about their treatment.
Even so, LeWitt called it a well-designed study in his editorial. “The outcome of this study, despite its limitations, opens our eyes to another nuance of placebo effect with implications for clinical practice, the research enterprise, and health policy,” he writes.
At least one other team has found similar results from using placebos to investigate the effect of drug prices on patient outcomes. In 2006, a duo from Massachusetts Institute of Technology compared the reactions of 82 participants to electrical shocks after taking a fake pain reliever. One group received a pill said to be regularly-priced at $2.50 and another group took a discounted pill that supposedly sold for $0.10. The team found that subjects reported less pain overall after taking the regularly-priced pill.
“I hope this will be the beginning of a concerted effort to making patients do better with resources that don't necessarily require another drug or therapy for their care,” says Espay. “They have something very powerful within themselves.”
Watch video:

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

UCSD study shows why protein mutations lead to familial form of Parkinson's disease

Last updated: 

Researchers at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego, have shown for the first time why protein mutations lead to the familial form of Parkinson's disease.
The study, available online in pre-publication in ACS Chemical Neuroscience and partially funded by the National Institutes of Health, focuses specifically on alpha-synuclein (αsyn), a protein whose function in healthy tissue is unknown but which represents the major structural component of Lewy bodies - protein clumps found in the brains of individuals with Parkinson's disease and other neurological disorders.
Parkinson's disease is characterized by impairment or deterioration of neurons in an area of the brain known as the substantia nigra. In the familial form of the disorder, a set of mutations in αsyn had been identified but what was unknown was the molecular mechanism by which these mutations caused disease.
"As an unstructured protein, αsyn is sometimes called 'chameleon' because it has no stable configuration and constantly changes its shape," said lead author Igor F. Tsigelny, a research scientist with SDSC as well as the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center and the Department of Neurosciences. "Nevertheless when these changes seem to be random on first glance, they have specific intrinsic rules that control the evolution of the αsyn shape."
Using SDSC's data-intensive Gordon supercomputer to find hidden rules of the conformational changes of αsyn, researchers conducted extensive calculations of the possible evolution of the protein structure.
Through computer modeling, researchers showed that αsyn mostly can bind the membrane with four main sites, or zones. While binding was shown to be superficial by three of the sites, one site - Zone 2 - had a particular affinity for the membrane. Researchers found that αsyn contacting the neuron membrane in that site immediately and deeply penetrated it, which led to the creation of ring oligomers in the membrane, and eventually opened pores that allowed an uncontrolled influx of ions that ultimately killed the cell. Most of the mutations changed the shape of the protein in a way that increased binding of αsyn to the membrane by this zone.

These theoretical predications were confirmed by a set of experimental methods conducted in the laboratory of Eliezer Masliah, a professor in UC San Diego's Department of Neurosciences. "Previous to this study, researchers could not say why these mutations caused Parkinson's disease," said Tsigelny. "The discovery of Zone 2 as the distinguishing feature of the membrane-penetrating configurations of αsyn paves the road to possible prevention of such a binding. Now we can affect this region with rational drug design, for example by creating compounds that would change its electrostatic profile." 

Adapted by MNT from original media release

Beer compound could help fend off Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease



The health-promoting perks of wine have attracted the spotlight recently, leaving beer in the shadows. But scientists are discovering new ways in which the latter could be a more healthful beverage than once thought. They're now reporting in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that a compound from hops could protect brain cells from damage -- and potentially slow the development of disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. 
Jianguo Fang and colleagues note that mounting evidence suggests that oxidative damage to neuronal cells contributes to the development of diseases that originate in the brain. If scientists could find a way to guard these cells from this type of damage, they might be able to help prevent or slow down Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative conditions. One compound found in hops, called xanthohumol, has gotten the attention of researchers for its potential benefits, including antioxidation, cardiovascular protection and anticancer properties. 
Fang's team decided to test xanthohumol's effects on brain cells. 
In lab tests, the researchers found that the compound could protect neuronal cells and potentially help slow the development of brain disorders. The scientists conclude xanthohumol could be a good candidate for fighting such conditions. 
The authors acknowledge funding from Lanzhou University and the Natural Science Foundation of Gansu Province.
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 161,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio. 
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Low-frequency deep brain stimulation improves difficult-to-treat Parkinson's symptoms

Jan.27, 2015
60Hz stimulation more effective than standard treatment at improving swallowing and gait issues
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Parkinson's disease patients treated with low-frequency deep brain stimulation show significant improvements in swallowing dysfunction and freezing of gait over typical high-frequency treatment. The study, published in Neurology on Jan 27, provides a new route for treating Parkinson's patients with these difficult-to-treat and sometimes life-threatening symptoms.
"This is the first study to successfully treat swallowing dysfunction, and one of the first to treat difficulty with gait, using this unusual low-frequency 60Hz stimulation," said study author and principal investigator Tao Xie, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Chicago. "These conditions are usually difficult to manage by typical deep brain stimulation or medications. Our findings have a significant and direct clinical impact on improving quality of care and potentially reducing the morbidity and mortality in Parkinson's disease."
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is often the major treatment that alleviates symptoms of Parkinson's disease that cannot be adequately controlled by medications. The procedure, which involves the implantation of a "brain pacemaker," sends electrical impulses to specific parts of the brain. Routine DBS typically uses a high-frequency 130Hz impulse. However, this has been ineffective at improving swallowing issues and freezing of gait - symptoms which can lead to disability and mortality in Parkinson's.
Xie and his colleagues tested whether low-frequency stimulation at 60Hz would be more effective at treating these symptoms in a small trial involving seven Parkinson's patients who had swallowing issues and freezing of gait despite standard medication and 130Hz DBS treatment. In two separate sessions separated by six weeks, patients received either 60Hz, 130Hz, or no stimulation in a randomized, double-blind manner. 
The researchers recorded and analyzed the oral, pharyngeal, laryngeal functions of patients after DBS treatment, playing close attention to whether airway aspiration occurred during swallowing. Patients also filled out a swallowing questionnaire. Freezing of gait was assessed via a stand-walk-sit test and a questionnaire. Patients were also scored on a standard Parkinson's symptom scale which measures gait, posture and speech (known as axial symptoms), tremor and other motor symptoms.
The team found that 60Hz stimulation reduced airway aspiration issues by 57 percent and swallowing difficulty by 80 percent, as well as significantly reduced freezing of gait and axial symptoms, when compared to 130Hz stimulation. Patients continued on 60Hz treatment and benefits persisted when assessed six weeks later. 
"For those with freezing of gait that cannot be treated with routine 130Hz stimulation, 60Hz stimulation should be used as it not only improves gait, but also swallowing and other Parkinsonian symptoms," Xie said. "It is more effective than 130Hz in overall motor function, though it may not be good for those with medication refractory tremors."
Six out of the seven patients involved in the study have remained on 60Hz stimulation due to persistent benefit for about a year so far. Xie and his team are pursuing long-term follow up studies for these patients, as well as exploring the underlying brain circuitry that makes this treatment effective.
The study, "Low-frequency stimulation of STN-DBS reduces aspiration and freezing of gait in patients with PD," was funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation under the Rapid Response Innovation Award program. Additional authors include Julie Vigil, Ellen MacCracken, Arunas Gasparaitis, Joan Young, Wenjun Kang, Jacqueline Bernard, Peter Warnke and Un J. Kang.
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

Singing could help millions with Parkinson's

AMES, Iowa —A new study shows singing may help the millions of Americans who suffer from Parkinson's disease.
KCCI's Vanessa Peng spoke to people who sang for the study. They all said they made physical improvements, but it's the mental changes that keep them singing.
Months later, those people suffering from Parkinson's disease still meet for a hour of "You Are My Sunshine."
"I tell people that I'm statistically improved," said Mark Blaedel, of Ames.
Blaedel was one of 30 people last summer who met for an hour each week for eight weeks. It was all part of an Iowa State University study.
"The goal of this study was to introduce a new novel type of therapy based up on music therapy approaches," said Elizabeth Stegemoller, an ISU assistant professor in kinesiology.
Stegemoller is studying the effects of singing on speech and swallowing in people with Parkinson's disease.
"Some of the things that happen with music -- you increase dopamine production in the brain just from listening to music, it also helps coordinate muscle activity," said Stegemoller.
She said after tests she has seen a huge difference in her singing patients.
"What we found is significant, positive changes for the voice and how load people were able to speak and how long people were able to hold their breath support," said Stegemoller.
Elizabeth Wright is one of the participants. She said she may have made improvements, but the biggest benefit of the group for her is the new friends she's made. That's why they still meet even though the study is over.
"Other people don't want to hear about Parkinson's all the time, but we talk to each other about our disease," said Wright.
Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system. Stegemoller hopes to bring this study to more sites across the nation.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Scientists find drug candidates can block cell-death pathway associated with Parkinson's -SCRIPPS RESEARCH INSTITUTE

JUPITER, FL - January 27, 2015 - In a pair of related studies, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have shown their drug candidates can target biological pathways involved in the destruction of brain cells in Parkinson's disease.
The studies, published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and Scientific Reports, suggest that it is possible to design highly effective and highly selective (targeted) drug candidates that can protect the function of mitochondria, which provide the cell with energy, ultimately preventing brain cell death.
These drug candidates act on what are known as the JNK (pronounced "junk") kinases--JNK1, JNK2 and JNK3--each an enzyme with a unique biological function. JNK is linked to many of the hallmark components of Parkinson's disease, such as oxidative stress and programmed cell death. 
"These are the first isoform selective JNK 2/3 inhibitors that can penetrate the brain and the first shown to be active in functional cell-based tests that measure mitochondrial dysfunction," said Philip LoGrasso, a TSRI professor who led both studies. "In terms of their potential use as therapeutics, they've been optimized in every way but one--their oral bioavailability. That's what we're working on now."
The new studies raise the hope that such a therapy could prevent the gradual degeneration of brain cells in Parkinson's disease and halt these patients' decline.
"Some of these compounds had a level of selectivity that ranged as high as 20,000-fold against competing targets and were extremely effective against oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction--both potent cell killers," added HaJeung Park, director of Scripps Florida's X-ray Crystallography Core Facility and the first author of the Scientific Reports study. 
The scientists found that within JNK3, a single amino acid--L144--was primarily responsible for the high level of JNK3 selectivity. Isoform selectivity can help to limit potential side effects of a drug. 
Intriguingly, some recent studies have shown that JNK3 not only plays a central role in brain cell death in Parkinson's disease, but also in Alzheimer's disease. LoGrasso and his colleagues also believe their JNK3 drug candidates have potential for treating ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). 
In addition to LoGrasso and Park, authors of the Scientific Reports study, "Structural Basis and Biological Consequences for JNK2/3 Isoform Selective Aminopyrazoles," include Sarah Iqbal, Pamela Hernandez, Rudy Mora, Ke Zheng and Yangbo Feng of TSRI. See
The first author of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry study, "Design and Synthesis of Highly Potent and Isoform Selective JNK32 Inhibitors: SAR Studies on Aminopyrazole Derivatives," is Ke Zheng of TSRI. Other authors include Sarah Iqbal, Pamela Hernandez, HaJeung Park and Yangbo Feng of TSRI. See
Both studies were supported by the Department of Defense (W81XWH-12-1-0431 1192) and the National Institutes of Health (GM103825).
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FDA January Approvals Bring New Parkinson's Therapies to U.S. Market

FoxFeed Blog

Posted by  Kimberly Sawicki, January 26, 2015
FDA January Approvals Bring New Parkinson's Therapies to U.S. Market
This past month the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two new formulations of traditional Parkinson’s therapy levodopa/carbidopa. Both therapies are designed to avoid “off” time in Parkinson’s — when symptoms return before another dose of medication is due.
MJFF-awardee Impax Pharmaceuticals announced the approval of RYTARY, an extended-release, oral capsule formulation of the drug. Phase III clinical trial participants experienced nearly an hour and a half less “off” time per day when taking the drug.
Less than a week later, the FDA approved AbbVie’s Duopa gel formulation of levodopa/carbidopa. The treatment, approved in Europe under the name Duodopa since 2004, is delivered directly into the small intestine via a small infusion pump and tube. The drug bypasses the stomach and thereby some of the absorption issues impacting oral medicine. Duopa requires patients wear a large external “box” in the belt region that may require maintenance.

Monday, January 26, 2015

5 Lessons I Learned about Parkinson's Disease Support Groups

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Posted by  Kate Kelsall, January 23, 2015
5 Lessons I Learned about Parkinson's Disease Support Groups
Kate Kelsall is president of DBS Voices of the Rockies and volunteers as a DBS advocate with individuals and their families. She was diagnosed with PD in 1996 and had DBS in 2005.  Kate blogs at Shake, Rattle and Roll.
It was a warm day in May 2005 in Sacramento, I felt as though I was the only person in the world getting DBS (deep brain stimulation). My husband, Tom felt like he was the only spouse in the world of someone getting DBS.
Tom and I each kept our worries about DBS to ourselves—how would I function after DBS; would I survive the surgery.
Back in 1996 on the day after I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, Tom and I went to a local PD support group whose members were identified as “young onset.” At the time, I didn’t know the difference between the terms “young onset” and “recently diagnosed” and I thought they were one and the same. This young onset group had many people that were in their70s and 80s and had advanced Parkinson’s,  I was 46 years old and was diagnosed only the day before. Members arrived in wheelchairs, using walkers, and one individual even arrived by ambulance. It was a shock to see a possible glimpse of my future with Parkinson’s. I never attended another PD support group for the next ten years from 1996 to 2006 until Valerie Graham and I founded the DBS support group, the Bionic Brigade in 2006.
We both learned that we were not alone and that support groups aren’t one size fits all.
I learned the questions to ask.
During the DBS process, I realized that I needed to meet with other persons who already had DBS. I saw plenty of DBS medical folks during the evaluation process, but no one who had the experience of being a patient who had DBS.
I learned everything I could about DBS.
Some group members like to know every detail about the DBS experience, while some feel intense anxiety with too many details.
I learned to speak up.
I love the saying “A closed mouth doesn’t get fed.” I needed to open my mouth and ask my questions. If I have a question about DBS, chances are there are a number of other members who have the same question. Even if you I’m not the kind of person who enjoys speaking up, it’s important to share my DBS experience in the group so that others can benefit from my experience and knowledge.
I learned to be respectful.
I have the utmost respect for people struggling with PD and DBS and their care partners, overwhelmed by the doctors’ appointments, keeping up with the programming sessions as well as the rehab sessions in speech, physical and occupational therapy.  Those with PD don’t want to be pitied or to be seen as suffering, but they want to be treated like ordinary people who are making their way in the world and living the best they can.The Bionic Brigade continues to be an excellent resource for information about DBS, provides the opportunity to share DBS experiences, explore fears about DBS and make some friends along the way. The group with its co-leaders, Donna Miller and myself (both with PD) and its enthusiastic facilitator, Cheryl Siefert (who does not have PD) have shown that our lives are not over with DBS. In fact, in some ways we have created more satisfying and purposeful lives with DBS. The group has provided education and support, and we have come to the conclusion that we are not alone in our quest for the cure. The Bionic Brigade has given us inspiration and hope for the future.