Oregon State Police
I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease a few years ago. My particular symptoms are controlled for the most part by medications and I can safely drive my car, but sometimes my speech is slightly slurred and I could not pass a balance-based field sobriety test. If I am stopped for any reason, how should I present myself?
This is a question to which many drivers can relate, at least on some level. Most of the people Clackamas County Sgt. Richard Sheldon stopped as a traffic deputy were so nervous they fumbled and stammered to the point they may have worried their behavior would arouse suspicions of driving under the influence, even if they hadn't been drinking.
But impairment looks different from a traffic cop's perspective, Sheldon said.
"A huge portion of our contacts deal with people that are under the influence of alcohol and other substances," Sheldon said. "We start to develop an understanding of what a drunk person looks like, or what a high person looks like."
And it's not all that unusual to encounter drivers with a medical condition that can affect speech or movement.
That said, if a police officer suspects a driver might be impaired, they'll usually start asking questions to gather more information and establish probable cause. If you haven't already, this would be a good time to bring up a medical condition, Sheldon said.
Keeping a doctor's note in the car that outlines specific symptoms might help get you on your way faster, too.
If it does come down to a sobriety test, there are alternatives to the usual walk-and-turn. Sworn police officers have nine field sobriety tests at their disposal under Oregon's administrative rules, and most don't involve balance.
Alternatives include checking eye movement, touching your fingertips to your thumb while counting, or reciting the alphabet. (Not backward, Sheldon said. "I couldn't do that.") Officers also sometimes ask drivers to tilt their head back for 30 seconds to see if their perception of time is warped, suggesting impairment.
The tests are frequently used when drivers have a disability or injury and can't easily get out of a vehicle for a walking or standing test.
Wanting to get another perspective, we contacted Portland criminal defense attorney Mark Cogan. He said the issue comes up frequently, although his examples came from cases that went to trial — probably not the reader's ideal outcome.
He said it's probably a good idea to carry documentation. And in most traffic stops, medical issues should come up anyway.
"Typically they're required to ask the person, 'Do you have any kind of medical issues? Have you seen a doctor recently?'" Cogan said. "Police do anticipate that as a possible cause for appearance of impairment."
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.
Saturday, September 12, 2015
|PHOTO: Budding Brisbane artist Mary-Louise Levick uses her Parkinson's disease to capture her signature style photos. This is a photo of the Story Bridge in Brisbane. September 2015. (Supplied: Mary-Louise Levick)|
Like all great photographers, Brisbane's Mary-Louise Levick spends most of her time in pursuit of the perfect shot.
But when she was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease at the age of 34, the budding artist was literally forced to shake things up.
Ms Levick had her first symptoms at age 30 when she noticed a tremor in her thumb.
About three years later, when she began to struggle writing, doctors suspected she had Parkinson's disease.
At the same time, Ms Levick was just beginning to explore her passion for photography.
PHOTO: Mary-Louise Levick's diagnosis of Parkinsons disease in her 30s helped her create her own style. (Supplied: Luka Esenko)
She sought out a mentor in fellow photographer Marcus Bell to learn how to use her camera properly, but from their relationship an idea blossomed.
"We started talking about the Parkinson's side of things and how it would affect my photography, especially into the future," Ms Levick said.
"And that was when he (Marcus) told me; you know 'go with it'.
"He said 'if you want to stand out in the crowd, you've got to come up with something different'."
It was from these discussions that Ms Levick's signature style, the "Parkinson's disease effect", or "PD effect", was born.
Initially, Ms Levick would just let the tremor go and whatever the result.
Now she focuses and plans the photograph, taking in the tremor component of it.
"Because I'm still initially I can get the still shots," Ms Levick said.
"But then my tremor starts and you're using lights, you know that as soon as you move the camera you get a pattern."
Mr Bell felt compelled to work with Ms Levick, despite rarely agreeing to one-on-one workshops.
"It really intrigued me," he said.
"I was able to resonate and understand a little because of my own experiences, with my mum having Parkinson's."
'PD effect' exhibition opening most successful in gallery's history
A collection of Ms Levick's "PD effect" images are currently on display at a Maud Creative, a photographic gallery in Newstead.
The exhibition had the most successful opening in the gallery's history.
"It's not about the sharpness or the perfect picture, it's about the essence of the image," gallery owner Irena Prikryl said.
"I just thought her [Mary-Louise's] passion and enthusiasm for life was just something incredible, and something to show to everybody."
She described Ms Levick's photography as unique and inspiring, and said it highlighted the beauty in imperfection.
"I can see the technique but I think the unintentional movement is so unique that I don't think you could reproduce it, I don't think you could recreate it," Ms Prikryl said.
Friday, September 11, 2015
10th September 2015 - New research
Although it normally has completely different uses, including orthostatic hypotension, the prodrug droxidopa has been found to reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease. Droxidopa is a synthetic amino acid precursor. It can pass the blood brain barrier and form noradrenaline and adrenaline, which are derivatives of L-dopa and dopamine. Droxidopa is marketed as Northera.
For more information go to : http://www.rxlist.com/northera-drug.htm
The use of droxidopa in Parkinson's Disease was compared to the use of a placebo. The two groups were comparable in all respects. After two weeks and also nearly two months Parkinson's Disease symptoms scores were significantly different from the outset. Individual motor symptoms such as stiffness, resting tremor, and alternate hand motion were also significantly improved with the use of droxidopa, suggesting that droxidopa is effective in improving rigidity, tremor and alternate motion of hand.
Droxidopa was effective as symptomatic adjunct therapy, and significantly improved motor function and activities of daily living. On the way to forming noradrenaline and adrenaline, it must therefore have dopaminergic activity.
Reference : Parkinsonism and Related Disorders  Aug 21 [Epub ahead of print] (S. Zhao, R.Cheng, J.Zheng, Q.Li, J.Wang, W.Fan, L.Zhang, Y.Zhang, H.Li, S.Liu)
Complete abstract : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26342560
What is concussion? What is mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI)?
Concussion is also known as mild brain injury, mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), mild head injury and minor head trauma. Some experts define concussion as a head injury with temporary loss of brain function, which can cause cognitive, physical and emotional symptoms. Concussion may also be defined as an injury to the brain generally caused by a jolt or blow to the head - in the majority of cases the individual does not lose consciousness.
According to Medilexicon's medical dictionary, concussion is "An injury of a soft structure, as the brain, resulting from a blow or violent shaking."
In sports medicine the term concussion is commonly used, while in general medicine MTBI (mild traumatic brain injury) may be used as well. Lay people are more familiar with the term concussion.
According to the Brain Injury Association of America males are twice as likely as females to sustain a brain injury. Those at highest risk of a brain injury are males aged 15 to 24 years. People who have had a brain injury are more likely to experience a subsequent brain injury. In 2008 there were 351,992 sports-related head injuries that were treated in hospital emergency rooms in the USA, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Researchers from Toronto University reported that children take longer to recover from second or third concussions, compared to those with a first concussion. They reported their findings in the journal Pedatrics (June 2013 issue).
Researchers from the Centre de recherche en neuropsychologie et cognition, Université de Montréal, Canada found evidence that athletes who were concussed during their earlier sporting life show a decline in their mental and physical processes more than 30 years later.
On Monday, March 18th, 2013, the American Academy of Neurology launched:
What are the causes of concussion?
The brain floats in cerebral fluid which protects it from jolts and bumps. A violent jolt or a severe blow to the head can cause the brain to bump hard against the skull. This can result in the tearing of fiber nerves as well as blood vessel rupture under the skull, leading to an accumulation of blood.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
September 08, 2015
Two patients in the U.S. with Parkinson’s disease have been successfully treated using focused ultrasound, Dr. Howard Eisenberg, chair of the neurosurgery department at University of Maryland School of Medicine, told HCB News. Focused ultrasound is being used specifically to treat dyskinesia, the tremors that can result when patients need to take increased doses of Levodopa, a medication used to manage their disease, said Eisenberg.
“Focused ultrasound is, in a sense, a ‘back to the future’ thing,” said Eisenberg. He treated his first patient at University of Maryland Medicine in late August. The first patient in the U.S. to be successfully treated using this therapy was treated at the University of Virginia, he said.
According to the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, this treatment involves sending MR-guided focused ultrasound through the skull to destroy a small volume of targeted issue in the globus pallidus, a structure found deep within the brain that serves as the source of these tremors.
Most Parkinson’s disease patients will develop dyskinesia after five years of Levodopa treatment, but in only a minority of those – about 20 percent – will the dyskinesia interfere in their day-to-day lives, according to Dr. Paul Fishman, professor of neurology, pharmacology, and neurobiology at University of Maryland School of Medicine. The current best practice for treating dyskinesia in Parkinson’s patients is to implant a device in the brain that helps control the tremors by blocking the abnormal nerve signals that cause them, said Eisenberg. One of the challenges with this invasive procedure is that the battery needed to power the device must be replaced surgically every two to three years.
Prior to the implant approach, surgeons would open the patient’s skull and cut holes in their brain, to cause lesions to alleviate the tremors. Eisenberg noted that this clinical trial is limited to patients who experience the tremors primarily on one side of their body. In the treatment of his patient at University of Maryland Medicine, Eisenberg chose to focus the therapy on the side of the body that had the most pronounced manifestation of the tremors. He said that patients treated using this protocol must be awake. The procedure itself takes about three hours, and that includes the use of local anesthesia, the patient’s entry into the MR gantry and subsequent adjustments to their body, and the time required to focus the ultrasound on the globus pallidus. Throughout this third and final part of the treatment, the heat of the focused ultrasound is adjusted and the patient is observed. During the procedure, the patient wears a bowl-like device that’s fitted to a frame that’s pinned to their head. The bowl-like device, which is immobilized within the MR scanner, contains as many as 1,000 sonicators that provide beams of energy and deliver the focused ultrasound to create a lesion to alleviate the tremor symptoms. Eisenberg’s work with this patient at University of Maryland is part of an international clinical trial that has included seven patients in Korea and one patient in Canada, in addition to the patient at University of Virginia. The studies are being conducted using the ExAblate Neuro system developed by Israel-based InSightec. According to the University of Maryland, funding for these studies has been provided by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and the Focused Ultrasound Foundation.
Posted yesterday at 10:40pm
PHOTO: Hayley Milne was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease about five weeks ago. She goes to the support group to get an idea of what may lie ahead for her as the disease progresses. (ABC Northern Tasmania: Fred Hooper )
Every fortnight a group of people get together in a small room at the northern integrated care service building in Launceston and they all have one thing in common — Parkinson's disease.
Some people in the support group live with the disease, others have family members or friends living with it, and the support group offers a place to share ideas and thoughts.
Diana Newell has been going to the fortnightly sessions for about seven years after her husband was diagnosed with the disease 14 years ago.
"I'm just a carer, but I might be able to give them a little hint on what I've tried and it's worked, and what I've tried and it hasn't worked," Ms Newell said.
"The reason I came along originally was because I didn't know enough about Parkinson's.
"You can come along and speak to some of the people who have it and find out some information."
Ms Newell was attending the meeting alone and now feels she can offer more support and advice to others as well as using it for her own knowledge.
Support for those in the early stages of Parkinson's
The group is mostly made up of people who have been living with the disease for a while, with only a small number of young people in the earlier stages of the disease.
"The [young] people are actually still working and sometimes they think 'oh, there's nothing there for me, I'm still young, I don't really need that support' and they just don't come along," Ms Newell said.
"Sometimes you find the early onset ones maybe find it a little intimidating with older people, sixties and seventies who have the disease, and they are a little nervous and frightened of what they might see and think."
The one exception in the room is 41-year-old Hayley Milne from Launceston.
She was diagnosed five-weeks-ago and she has a lot of questions.
"I think my first thought was family," Ms Milne said.
"How it will impact in the future, on not only my children and my husband and my friends, but sort of your life, you're only 41 and not sure which way your life is going."
Before her diagnosis Ms Milne noticed tremors in her head, at first she was able to ignore them, until they progressively became worse and started to affect her balance.
"At the beginning, before any medication, they were quite light but then they got that bad that every time I walked it was almost like my brain was hitting my skull," Ms Milne said.
In only her second session with the support group Ms Milne seems quite calm and happy to take in as much information as she can.
"I think the first week was the most interesting," Ms Milne said.
"They call it a designer disease because everybody's so different and seeing the group, everybody is so much older and so much more developed into the disease."
PHOTO: Diana Newell's husband lives with Parkinson's disease and she attends the support groups to helps others. (ABC Northern Tasmania: Fred Hooper)
In recent weeks the disease has impacted on Ms Milne's ability to work, stopping her from working altogether, which has been one of the biggest challenges yet.
"I've always worked, I've always worked through all my pregnancies, I've worked up until the day I gave birth and then straight after," Ms Milne said.
Now Ms Milne is on medication, which has stopped her head tremors, making life a little easier and she is just simply hoping to take away one key message from the group sessions.
"Just to be prepared for what may come, but I mean it may not come," Ms Milne said.