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.

This is a free site for all with no advertisements.

Thank you for visiting!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Boxing could be used to treat Parkinson's symptoms

February 4, 2017

Juneau, Alaska: Twice a week, seven Juneau residents with Parkinson's disease go through a transformation.

"Once they go through this door, they are no longer Parkinson's patients — they're fighters," trainer Kirk Burke said. Inside the upstairs workout room at Pavitt Health and Fitness Center, Luann McVey, whose husband Richard Steele has Parkinson's disease, led the group of seven participants in yoga to warm them up for "Rock Steady Boxing."

These "fighters" don't jump into a ring to square off against another flesh and blood opponent. Instead, they do a circuit of boxing exercises to beat back their real opponent — Parkinson's.

Parkinson's is a chronic and progressive movement disorder that affects the nervous system; symptoms are tremors, bradykinesia (slowness of movement), rigidity and postural instability. There are drugs to treat symptoms, but no known cure at this time, reported the Juneau Empire (

Rock Steady Boxing is a non-contact boxing curriculum designed to help Parkinson's patients improve their quality of life. There are more than 300 Rock Steady Boxing affiliate programs around the world. Burke went to Indianapolis to train in Rock Steady in September 2016.

"What you're trying to do is intensify their exercise," Burke said. "So what happens is, is we're pushing them to a level that they don't perceive they can go to. Boxing is great for working both sides of the brain because you're throwing punches with both hands. It helps with their depth perception, balance, core strength."

During Rock Steady, the room is set up in stations to practice boxing drills, so a participant has two minutes at a station and one minute to rest before moving on to the next station. Some of the stations are battle ropes, a double-end ball, burpees and suspended push-ups, boxing with a trainer and a punching bag, an obstacle course for footwork, and a weight on a string exercise and hula hooping.

As the class got under way, participants were smiling and drenched in sweat. Burke, Penrose and another Pavitt trainer moved from person to person, correcting their form or giving advice. Spouses, who Burke calls "corner people" like in regular boxing, gave support or kept time.

Twice through the class Burke called out to pump up the participants, "Who are we?" "Rock Steady!" the class shouted back.

As Steele took his one-minute cool down after the "battle rope" station (battle ropes are huge, heavy ropes boxers move a variety of ways to work on their strength and stamina), he said the station is one of his favorites. Those that require more coordination he finds more challenging.

Steele was diagnosed with Parkinson's 10 months ago. "Muscular rigidity and pain," were Steele's symptoms, he said. "Muscles tighten up and they just hurt."

The usual giveaway is the tremor, he said, which is a sign you're 70-80 percent progressed with the disease.
Steele and McVey learned through a local doctor about Rock Steady Boxing. Steele then visited a class when he went to take part in a non-invasive treatment's clinical trial for Parkinson's for two months in Boston.

"The nice thing about Rock Steady is that it helps alleviate some of the problems you have with Parkinson's, so you're buying time," he said. Steele received the placebo for the clinical trial, but he did see positive effects from Rock Steady Boxing. He wanted to keep up with it when he returned to Juneau, but there wasn't a single Rock Steady affiliate in the entire state.

Steele, McVey and their friend Kerry Howard, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's in spring of 2016, decided to bring the program to Alaska.
Rock Steady isn't something that can be taught in an exercise video, Howard said. To do it right, they needed a trained coach who could teach the class regularly — and money to fund it all. Both Steele and Howard wanted to take the class, not teach it.

McVey, Steele and Howard set up a GoFundMe account, and within a matter of days, raised enough money to send Burke to get trained. Later they sent Nicki Penrose, another physical trainer.

"My symptoms are mild, but I notice after a hard, vigorous class, my tremor is somewhat reduced. I just feel better . I feel stronger . it's all helping me maintain or improve," Howard said.

Rock Steady increases endorphins and dopamine, she said, which are critical for Parkinson's patients because the disease reduces the level of dopamine (a neuro-transmitter linked to many feelings), and those with Parkinson's can fall prey to depression.

"Our range of symptoms pretty differ, but we all take the same class, do the same exercises and get the same enjoyment and camaraderie out of it," Howard said.

The class started up in late November, Burke said. They have seven consistent participants coming to the Tuesday and Thursday mid-morning class. Burke said he hopes for more to participate, saying there are other Parkinson patients in Juneau who could benefit. He recently spoke about Rock Steady Boxing at the local Parkinson's support group that meets the third Tuesday every month at the Pioneer's Home. People are free to come and try the class out before deciding to regularly attend and get a gym membership.
"Anytime anyone is dealing with any challenge in life, anything that gives you hope is a good thing. I think this Rock Steady Boxing definitely does that," Howard said.

Treating Depression and Anxiety in Parkinson’s Disease


In this film from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Dr. Rachel Dolhun talks about depression and anxiety in Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Dolhun explains that patients with Parkinson’s disease can often suffer from depression or anxiety and in some cases, both conditions. She stresses how important it is for people with Parkinson’s to have their depression treated to improve their quality of life.
The same medications are used to treat depression for Parkinson’s patients as for those without the disease and the most commonly prescribed antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), typically Prozac or Paxil. This will be given in a low dose initially, with the dosage rising over a period of weeks.
Dolhun also stresses how exercise can also help with the symptoms of depression and anxiety, and that it’s important for Parkinson’s disease patients to be socially involved with their friends and family.
Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

How Our Bodies Convert Sunlight Into Vitamin D


A lot of Parkinson’s disease patients have a vitamin D deficiency and recent studies have shown that this vitamin can benefit patients. Vitamin D is often called the “sunshine vitamin,” mostly because we can get it naturally when the sun’s UV rays interact with our skin, which triggers the vitamin’s synthesis. This very important vitamin aids our body’s absorption of calcium to keep our bones strong and encourage healthy cells to grow.
Vitamin D can be found naturally in foods such as egg yolks, oily fish, and mushrooms. Some food products such as milk, orange juice, and breakfast cereals are fortified with it. However, the best source of vitamin D is the sun. This video from DNews explains how our skin converts sunlight into vitamin D–a process called dermal vitamin synthesis.
Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website

Friday, February 3, 2017

Intel, Michael J. Fox Foundation to improve Parkinson’s Disease monitoring

By Eden Estopace | 2017-02-03

Intel Corporation and Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) announced this week a new partnership aimed at improving research and treatment for Parkinson’s disease.
The collaboration includes a multiphase research study using a new big data analytics platform that detects patterns in participant data collected from wearable technologies used to monitor symptoms. 
This effort is an important step in enabling researchers and physicians to measure the progression of the disease and to speed progress toward breakthroughs in drug development.
“Nearly 200 years after Parkinson’s disease was first described by Dr. James Parkinson in 1817, we are still subjectively measuring Parkinson’s disease largely the same way doctors did then,” said Todd Sherer, PhD, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation. “Data science and wearable computing hold the potential to transform our ability to capture and objectively measure patients’ actual experience of disease, with unprecedented implications for Parkinson’s drug development, diagnosis, and treatment.”
“The variability in Parkinson’s symptoms creates unique challenges in monitoring progression of the disease,” said Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Data Center Group. “Emerging technologies can not only create a new paradigm for measurement of Parkinson’s, but as more data is made available to the medical community, it may also point to currently unidentified features of the disease that could lead to new areas of research.”
The potential to collect and analyze data from thousands of individuals on measurable features of Parkinson’s, such as slowness of movement, tremor and sleep quality, could enable researchers to assemble a better picture of the clinical progression of Parkinson’s and track its relationship to molecular changes. 
Wearables can unobtrusively gather and transmit objective, experiential data in real time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With this approach, researchers could go from looking at a very small number of data points and burdensome pencil-and-paper patient diaries collected sporadically to analyzing hundreds of readings per second from thousands of patients and attaining a critical mass of data to detect patterns and make new discoveries.
Intel data scientists are now correlating the data collected to clinical observations and patient diaries to gauge the devices’ accuracy, and are developing algorithms to measure symptoms and disease progression.
Later this year, Intel and MJFF plan to launch a new mobile application that enables patients to report their medication intake as well as how they are feeling. The effort is part of the next phase of the study to enable medical researchers to study the effects of medication on motor symptoms via changes detected in sensor data from wearable devices.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Scientists identify two brain networks influencing how we make decisions

February 2017

Scientists at the Medical Research Council Brain Network Dynamics Unit at the University of Oxford have pinpointed two distinct mechanisms in the human brain that control the balance between speed and accuracy when making decisions.Their discovery, published in eLife, sheds new light on the networks that determine how quickly we choose an option, and how much information we need to make that choice. A more detailed understanding of this intricate wiring in the  holds the key to developing better treatments for neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease.

The fundamental trade-off between speed and accuracy in  has been studied for more than a century, with a number of studies suggesting that the subthalamic nucleus region of the brain plays a key role.
"Previous behavioural studies of decision making do not tell us about the actual events or networks that are responsible for making speed-accuracy adjustments," says senior author Peter Brown, Professor of Experimental Neurology at the University of Oxford. "We wanted to address this by measuring the exact location and timing of electrical activity in the subthalamic nucleus and comparing the results with behavioural data collected while a decision-making task is being performed."
Brown and his team first studied the reaction times of 11 patients with Parkinson's disease and 18 healthy participants, who were each asked to perform a moving-dots task. This required them to decide whether a cloud of moving dots appeared to be moving to the left or the right. The difficulty of the task was varied by changing the number of dots moving in one direction, and the participants were given randomly alternating instructions to perform the task with either speed or accuracy.
The researchers found that participants made much faster decisions when the task was easier - with the dots moving in a single direction - and when instructed to make a quick decision. They also found, in line with previous studies, that participants made significantly more errors during tests where they spent longer making a decision after being instructed to emphasise accuracy.
Using a computational model, they saw that it took longer in the more difficult tests for the brain to accumulate the necessary information to reach a critical threshold and make a decision. When the participants were asked to focus on speed, this threshold was significantly lower than when they focused on accuracy.
"The next step was to determine the activated networks in the brain that control these behavioural modifications and the trade-off between fast and accurate decisions," explains first author and postdoctoral fellow Damian Herz. "We measured the  of groups of nerve cells within the subthalamic nucleus in patients with Parkinson's disease, who had recently been treated with . We found two distinct neural networks that differ in the way they are ordered and the way they respond to tasks.
"One network increases the amount of information required before executing a decision and is therefore more likely to be activated when  is important, while the second network tends to lower this threshold, especially when the choice needs to be made quickly."
The findings add to the increasing evidence that the pre-frontal cortex region of the brain contributes to decision making and opens up further interesting avenues to explore.
"We know that changes in activity of one of the sites we identified is also related to movement control," adds Brown. "Close relationships between these  could mean that a common signal is responsible for adjustments in both the speed of decision and of the resulting movement. A better understanding of these mechanisms might make it possible to focus therapeutic interventions on specific neural circuits to improve treatment of neurological disorders in the future."
More information: Damian M Herz et al, Distinct mechanisms mediate speed-accuracy adjustments in cortico-subthalamic networks, eLife (2017).  DOI: 10.7554/eLife.21481 

Journal reference: eLife
Provided by: eLife

SEASONS OF MERCY Journeying with Parkinson’s disease

February 1, 2017

Warren and Christine Sheppard share their experiences since Warren’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease.

The Parkinson’s journey is both individual and challenging. It is an illness that affects all aspects of the lives of people living with the illness and the lives of their carers.
Everyone knows that Michael J Fox has, and Mohammed Ali had, Parkinson’s, but you may not have known about your younger neighbours or work colleagues. Perhaps you had noticed a changed gait, a blanker face, a slight tremor – but that is all.
About 11 years ago when we were walking along the beach, we noticed that one of Warren’s feet left a dragging pattern in the sand. Attempts at diagnosis failed, partly because Parkinson’s is a hard illness to diagnose because of the range of possible symptoms it displays.
Eighteen months later, Warren was referred to a Professor of Neurology, and after some questioning and an MRI, we were told that it was possibly Parkinson’s and given some scripts for medication. If Warren’s symptoms improved after medication, it was most likely Parkinson’s. His symptoms at that time were a dragging foot, blankness of expression (called face masking) and smaller handwriting. There were no tremors, the classic symptom associated with the illness. The symptoms, at that time, responded well to medication.
That evening, we went to our All Saints (Kotara) parish family group for a meal and shared our news. This group, to which we have belonged for about 26 years, has been very supportive.
The following weekend we had time away at one of our favourite places, Crowdy Head, to begin processing what was happening to us. We went to Mass and talked with our former parish priest, Fr Paul O’Neill. This was the beginning of many deep conversations with various people.
Warren continued as pastoral worker in All Saints Parish with Fr Greg Arnold, carrying out pastoral care and preparing liturgies until he found that the daily unpredictability of this disease made work too difficult.  As a Uniting Church Minister then working in public Mental Health, I retired from that ministry in 2010 to give more time for Warren and for babysitting grandchildren, as well as for being involved in supply ministries and working under the National Chaplaincy in Schools program.
As our grandchildren in Sydney, (now aged 4 and 6) grew, they would remind their Pop to have his medication. We have learned that medication has to be taken right on time, otherwise its effectiveness is easily lost.
Warren’s symptoms have included tiredness, face masking, change in gait, quieter speech, some falls, some hallucinations and anxiety at different times.
The Parkinson’s community in Newcastle is extensive with people involved in different activities depending on the age of onset of the illness.
We joined PD Warriors, an exercise group for people with Parkinson’s, run by exercise physiologist Michael Barrett who has an interest in brain plasticity and exercise programs for those with Parkinson’s and their carers. What a great program!
The local Parkinson’s choir, with the delightful name of “Shake, Rattle and Roll”, meets weekly and is for those with PD and their carers. As well as social contact, the voice and the brain get a good work out with songs which challenge us.
None of this singing songs like “Daisy”! Much of our repertoire is 21st century like Katie Perry’s “Roar”, where our soul is challenged to roar like the lion! With our just retired maestro, Tim Hall, the choir has written a song called “Friends”. Tim put the words together and performed the music.
I lost my confidence; this has been hard for us but we’ve all found something we couldn’t share.... We’re so much more than just the sum of our parts.
For Christine, a song the choir sings that captures the journey is “Lean On Me”: “Lean on me when you’re not strong...I’ll help you carry on.”
As a carer, it is tough, and she has a small group of Christian friends who pray for her and listen to her.  She is hugely thankful for them. With me, she prays the divine office aloud daily. She is a ’fan’ of St Mary MacKillop and seeks her prayers also. When the opportunity arises, we go to the place of Mary MacKillop’s tomb at North Sydney for prayer.  She is regularly inspired by the Gospel of John, chapter 1, which describes  the coming of the Word, especially verse 14, “And the Word became flesh  and lived [or set his tent] among us, and we have seen his glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”
Warren was very ill in July and had an unexpected 17-day stay in Calvary Mater, Waratah, with very difficult complications in terms of his Parkinson’s.  A care model where pastoral care was integral made his stay more bearable.  Deep conversations with the Pastoral Care team and daily Eucharist were part of his healing – and indirectly, healing within me. Visits by Anglican, Catholic and Uniting Church clergy and laity, with parish priest Terry Horne anointing Warren, all reminded us in those dark days that God is truly present in God’s people.
Christine was very grateful at this time for the patience and support of the people of Hamilton Wesley Uniting Church where she is currently in supply ministry.
We appreciate the loving support of our family and friends, including our parish family group and members of Adamstown Uniting Church evening congregation where we also worship.
Mr Warren Sheppard is a former Pastoral Worker at Calvary Mater Hospital and All Saints Catholic Parish. Rev Christine Sheppard OAM is currently supply Minister, Hamilton Wesley Uniting Church.

James White vows to continue Parkinson’s fight

February 1, 2017

David McCracken / The Garden Island
LIHUE — Five years ago, James White was in the darkest period of his life.
When he found out he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, White fell into a deep depression and felt the Parkinson’s begin to slowly take over his life.
“Parkinson’s is never going away, it will always get worse,” White said. “Sometimes you have a good day, then a bad day. It’s very stressful not knowing what’s going to come next. Sometimes you have to accept defeat those days. Parkinson’s won today, but you have to have that mindset to go back and beat it again the next day.”
When he lived in Jacksonville, Fla., White was part of a Parkinson’s support group that helped him battle through his depression.
When he moved to Kauai two and a half years ago, he was thankful to find a group he could turn to for help.
“Depression is a big part of having Parkinson’s. When you’re isolated by yourself, you slip deeper into depression. When you come to these support meetings, you’re enlightened. You’re not alone,” White said.
The Hawaii Parkinson’s Association’s Kauai support group was started by Susan Storm and her late husband, Jerry. After her husband’s death a year and a half ago, Storm let White take over responsibility for the group.
Although she is no longer in charge of organizing meetings or special guest speakers, Storm still attends every meeting to support caregivers.
“It’s such a good support group for each other for when someone’s not feeling well. It’s even a good place for for caregivers to come together and just have lunch and just complain to each other and let our hair down,” Storm said. “That’s so valuable — emotionally and psychologically.”
On the last Tuesday of each month, the group meets from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the activity room in Regency at Puakea Retirement & Assisted Living. In the group’s past meeting, neurologist Dr. Melvin Yee, was guest speaker.
Yee said it is important to help educate those with Parkinson’s on Kauai due because resources for the disease are scarce on the island.
“Parkinson’s is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s, so it’s a very prominent problem, especially here on Kauai,” Yee said.
A major problem among Kauai’s Parkinson’s population is that there is only one neurologist on island and no movement-disorder specialists, a necessity for Parkinson’s patients.
“Anytime that my husband needed care, we had to fly to either San Diego or to Oahu to see a specialist,” Storm said. “And it’s not even just the money. You’re traveling with someone who is very ill. So the whole experience of going through security and being on the airplane and staying at a hotel can be very draining.”
White is able to travel by himself to see a specialist. For now.
“But as the disease progresses, I can’t fly by myself,” he said.
When White moved to Kauai, he made sure there was a neurologist on island, but overlooked the fact that there wasn’t a movement-disorder specialist here. And when he originally contacted the specialist on Honolulu, the doctor wasn’t taking patients.
With nowhere else in the state or nearby to turn to, White returned home.
“I had to go all the way to the East Coast to see a specialist, but my insurance wouldn’t cover it because it was out of state,” White said. “My goal in life now is to get a movement disorder-specialist here, twice a year.”
Info: James White at (904) 321-6928 or email

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

FoxFeed Blog: Ballet and Brain Scans: A Parkinson's Research Project in Perfect Harmony

Allison Boiles

Take the world-renowned National Ballet School (NBS) in Canada, add a dancing program for people with Parkinson's and top it off with a research study from York and Ryerson Universities. What do you get? "Dancing with Parkinson's" -- part community exercise program and part research project featured in the award-winning documentary short, Synapse Dance.
Parkinson's research has increasingly demonstrated the importance of exercise to manage the motor symptoms (such as tremor and stiffness) and non-motor symptoms (such as constipation and anxiety) commonly experienced with Parkinson's disease (PD). But does dance, in particular, have specific benefits for the PD community?
Researchers from the "Dancing with Parkinson's" program are hoping to answer this question by better understanding how dance affects the brain of people with Parkinson's. Neuroscientists conducted brain scans of program volunteers and asked them to visualize their dance routines while listening to music. The scans showed how the various parts of the brain -- auditory, motor and visual -- work in concert while dancing and how this synchronization may allow PD patients to temporarily "cheat" some of the symptoms of the disease.

Preliminary results are positive and demonstrate that program participants are seeing improvements in gait and balance. Scientists hope that their work can inform additional research into the disease. Watch the full documentary below and learn more about exercise and Parkinson's disease.

First James R. Pohlman Memorial Golf Outing rates big success, donation given to Washington U. for research

February 1, 2017

Pictured from left to right - Carole Pohlman (wife of Jim Pohlman), Dr. Joel Perlmutter (chairman of Parkinson’s Disease Research at Washington University), Phil Pohlman & Jan Pohlman (siblings of Jim Pohlman)

CARROLLTON - The first James R. Pohlman Memorial Golf Outing rates a big success after a donation that was delivered recently.

Saturday, June 11, 2016, was the inaugural James R. Pohlman Memorial Golf Outing and the family said it worked out perfectly in terms of attendance and the money that was raised.

Nearly 150 golfers teamed up for an amazing day of festivities at the Westlake Country Club in Jerseyville to play golf and socialize, and honor a man respected by everyone who knew him.  

This tournament also provided awareness to Parkinson’s Disease as all proceeds went to the Parkinson’s Disease Research at Washington University. On October 25, 2016, the James R. Pohlman Golf Outing contributed $15,000.00 to Dr. Joel Perlmutter, Washington University, and his team of doctors and research specialists for their continued focus on treatment and prevention of Parkinson’s Disease, and advancing their research.  

Phil Pohlman, one of the organizers of the tourney and James Pohlman’s brother, said he and the family were all proud of donating the $15,000 to such a good cause – Washington University’s Parkinson’s Disease research.

“I think that was our goal right from the beginning,” he said. “We wouldn’t have had it if we didn’t have something to give it to and Parkinson’s has affected our own family. The tournament was set up in Jim’s honor and he would have wanted all the donations to go to a charitable organization.”

Plant & Rummage Sale, Bingo, Parkinson’s Support Group & More

February 1, 2017

Allen’s Cracker House And Church
Recently Allen’s Cracker House and Cracker Church hosted Hawthorne Village and the Palms Nursing Homes. They were entertained by Ronnie Smothers (Guitar) and Moses Vaurnum. Allen’s Cracker House is located at 19007 Dorman Rd. in Lithia. Call 758-4570 to schedule weddings, tours, family reunions, church functions & more.
Hawthorne Hosts Parkinson’s Disease Support Group
Hawthorne Health & Rehabilitation Center hosts a monthly support group for those who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and caregivers. The next meetings will take place on Wednesday, February 15 and Friday, March 17. Physical, speech and occupational therapists will discuss treatment for issues related to balance, swallowing, talking and other skills that can be affected by Parkinson’s Disease.
The Parkinson’s Disease support group is free and open to those who have been diagnosed with the disease, family members, caregivers and anyone with an interest in learning more about Parkinson’s. For more information or specific directions, call 661-8998 ext 204.
 Hawthorne Health & Rehabilitation Center, located at 851 West Lumsden Rd. in Brandon, is a skilled nursing facility with inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs including speech, physical and occupational therapies.
Tuesday Night Bingo Open To The Public
Tuesday night Bingo is open to both members and non-members of the Brandon Moose Lodge #1880. Doors open at the Brandon Moose Lodge North Hall at 5:30 p.m. First number is called at 6:30 p.m. sharp. The cost is $10 and food is available for sale before the games start, coffee and popcorn all night. Every week there are over 20 games and depending on how many players there are, $700 to $1,000 is given out weekly. 
The Brandon Moose Lodge is located at 804 S Miller Rd. in Valrico.

50 Shades Darker – Girl’s Night Out
On Tuesday, February 21, the GFWC Brandon Junior Woman’s Club presents a fun filled evening to include popcorn, drinks,  dinner and viewing of the movie 50 Shades Darker at AMC Regency 20 in Brandon. This event costs $25.Tickets are advanced sales only. Wear a dark tie in support of the evening’s theme. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Email or phone 644-3134 for tickets and any additional information.

Riverview Garden Club Plant & Rummage Sale
On Saturday, February 25, the Riverview Garden Club will hold its annual Plant & Rummage sale from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. or until sold out. Cash only. Clothing, toys jewelry, household items, baked goods and half priced plants will be available. Admission and parking are free. It is located at 11020 Park Dr. in Riverview.
SWAT Membership Open To All Woman
Volunteering for an organization can be very rewarding. That is why the volunteer Directors of SWAT Networking are all staying for another year. 
“2016 was an amazing year for us,” stated Executive Director, Deb Gerard with First Impressions, the women of “S.W.A.T.” (Successful Women Aligning Together) feel a bond that does not exist in other groups. “We are a sisterhood,” states Gerard. 
The organization provides a place for women in business to gather and support each other. With seven chapters to choose from, the group has a Director for each chapter and each chapter has a “team” of volunteers. The Directors all have their own businesses to promote and have busy lives, but all enjoy giving of their time for their “SWAT Sisters”.

Membership is open to all women. As a member, you would be able to bring business cards, brochures, and flyers to any of the chapter luncheons to put on a “Members Only” table, as well as promote your business by doing a “30-second commercial” and of course, guests are always welcome to attend as often and as many meetings as they wish.

For more information, visit

Program helps Latinos diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease

PHOENIX – Hispanics suffer from Parkinson’s disease at twice the rate of other ethnic minorities, likely due to environmental factors such as prolonged exposure to herbicides and insecticides or to metals such as copper, manganese and lead, according to a report from Washington University in St. Louis.
But many Latinos lack proper access to health care and information about the disease to begin treatment and improve living conditions, said Claudia Martinez, who coordinates Hispanic outreach programs for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in Phoenix.

“That’s why we believe that it’s very important not only to provide services for Latinos with Parkinson’s but also to educate the Hispanic community about this disease,” Martinez said. Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, neurological condition that primarily affects a patient’s movement or balance, often causing tremors.

Challenges for Latinos

Many families face a myriad challenges after a Parkinson’s diagnosis, Martinez said. About 60 percent of new patients experience depression, anxiety or apathy, according to a statement from Barrow Neurological Institute, which houses the Phoenix center.
Latinos can experience other challenges, such as a language barriers or hesitating to reach out for help.

In Arizona, 30 percent of residents identify as Hispanic or Latino, so there is a need for culturally sensitive health services for Hispanics with Parkinson’s, Sara Baird, a spokeswoman for Dignity Health, wrote in an email.
Elderly Latinos are often reluctant to be assertive with health care professionals, and many respond with silence, according to a report on Latino health care by Claudia Medina of Louisiana State University.
Language is a top barrier. The Hispanic outreach program provides services in Spanish and relies on a culturally sensitive approach, Martinez said.

‘The world came on top of me’

Ruby Rendon, a caregiver and volunteer at the Parkinson’s center, said her mother was an avid singer and dancer before she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease a decade ago.
“The world came on top of me,” Corina Villalobos, Rendon’s mother, said in Spanish. “It was something terrible.”
Rendon started looking for help for her mother.
“I did some research online because my sister told me that my mom wasn’t being the same,” Rendon said. “So I went online and looked up Parkinson’s in Spanish and I found Claudia’s phone number.”
Corina Villalobos shows a painting of women to her daughter, Ruby Rendon. Villalobos has Parkinson’s disease, and spontaneously paints whatever comes to her mind. (Photo by Blake Hemmel/Cronkite News)

Rendon said her mother looks forward to attending classes at the center, including painting, sewing, and singing in the Spanish-language choir. The center also educates families and patients about the different stages of Parkinson’s and what changes to expect. 
“It’s important because you know what’s coming,” Rendon said. “You know what stage they are. And you know that if she freezes, it’s OK, because she’s going to keep moving again in a little bit.”
Villalobos, who also writes poems to keep her handwriting skills strong, said she participates in the center’s programs because of her family. 
“The reason is my daughters, my family,” Villalobos said in Spanish. “They’re everything.”
Villalobos can still move and walk without help but will need assistance later, Rendon said. Then, Rendon will have handles installed in the shower and find more accessible furniture, among other things.
“I don’t try to think about it as much,” Rendon said when asked about the future. “I think we try to do it day by day, you know. This day she feels good and we can do stuff, and there’s some days when she’s probably not going to want to do anything, and it’s fine.”
Corina Villalobos wears a homemade apron at her daughter Ruby Rendon’s home. Rendon cares for her mother, who has Parkinson’s disease. Rendon picks up fabric at thrift stores for Villalobos, who keeps her hands mobile by sewing aprons at home. (Photo by Blake Hemmel/Cronkite News)

Hispanic outreach grows

The Hispanic outreach program launched ten years ago with one exercise class and a support group to improve patients’ quality of life. Since then, it has added painting workshops, caregiver training and education classes for patients and caregivers. There is also a Latino choir, Voces Unidas, or United Voices, Martinez said.
The Hispanic outreach program offers a Promotores Program that is only available in Spanish. The “first-of-its-kind” course is taught by specially-trained Hispanic volunteers who visit patients at their homes, according to Barrow’s. Promotores, which is comprised of 13 weekly visits, provides education and support.
Rendon said her volunteer work with the Parkinson’s outreach program is rewarding for patients, volunteers and families.
“You can’t do it alone,” Rendon said. “You think you can, but what I have learned is that it’s always good to ask for help if you need it.”