August 17, 2019 - Parkinson FIT Weekend Update

August 17, 2019 – Parkinson FIT Weekend Update

This Week’s Highlights: Battling neurotransmitters; Interrupted Sleep - why recent changes in Restless Legs treatment may be relevant for some with PD; acetylcholine’s role in PD symptoms; Why Hope Is Important; PD Summer School; positive deviancy; magic therapy; Judas Priest; research briefs & more ...
PAIN: Explaining Why Changes To RLS Treatment Could Be Significant For Parkinson’s Pain

PAIN: Explaining Why Changes To RLS Treatment Could Be Significant For Parkinson’s Pain

If you have Parkinson’s disease and pain or discomfort that interrupts your sleep, then I think I have some fresh insight, and for some, something to discuss with your doctor. (I can’t believe I’m writing an article to explain another article that I wrote, but I’m still processing a lot of this myself.) Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a horribly misleading term for a condition that is estimated to affect 5% of the U.S. population. The branding, at least for my mind, connotes a playful condition, when it is actually a painful condition at worst and a sleep-depriving condition at ...
Beyond Dopamine - Does PD Effect Other Neurotransmitters?

Beyond Dopamine – Does PD Effect Other Neurotransmitters?

Trends in PD research are showing that in addition to Parkinson’s impact on the neurotransmitter dopamine and the dopamingeric system, the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and the brain’s cholingeric system are also impacted. This post reviews recent research (and some very old research that may need to be revisited), and discusses how two vitamins/supplements (Vitamin B12 and Citicoline/CDP Choline) may impact Parkinson’s disease. This should not be considered medical advice. Always consult your doctors and pharmacist about any vitamins or supplements that you are taking or considering. Related: Exhibit A: Yale Study challenges assumptions about PD and acetylcholine Several weeks ago, a ...
Why Hope Is Important to Living Well With Parkinson’s

Why Hope Is Important to Living Well With Parkinson’s

A friend forwarded me a video of an excellent inspirational and entertaining commencement address by legendary college football coach Lou Holtz. On the surface, it has nothing to do with living with Parkinson’s. He does not have PD, and he was addressing newly minted college graduates ready to take on the world. But when he said the following, I felt like he was speaking to me directly, right here and now: You have to have something to hope for, something to dream. And even though you’ve done great things so far, what’s going to happen now? I think the coach’s ...
Interrupted Sleep: Exploring Links Between Parkinson’s Disease and Restless Leg Syndrome

Interrupted Sleep: Exploring Links Between Parkinson’s Disease and Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Legs Syndrome and Parkinson’s disease have interesting dopamine connections. Some Parkinson’s pain may actually be restless legs or arms. Could changes in RLS treatment over the past few years be relevant to getting a good night’s sleep with PD? To those unfamiliar with the condition, the terminology "Restless Legs" makes it difficult to accept as the serious condition that it is. Whenever I hear the term Restless Legs Syndrome, my brain thinks "ants in my pants". I picture myself back in elementary school, being forced to sit at a desk, when I’d rather be running around outside.  That is far from ...
August 11, 2019 - Parkinson FIT Weekend Update

August 11, 2019 – Parkinson FIT Weekend Update

This Week's Highlights: Beer festival therapy; "How Parkinson’s gave me a better long-range jumper, a better baseball throwing arm, and a better outlook on life!"; impulse control disorders; PD and Vitamins B12 & D; into the rabbit hole of vitamins and supplements ...
Low Vitamin D Associated With Increased Falls and Insomnia in PD

Low Vitamin D Associated With Increased Falls and Insomnia in PD

Vitamin D is another nutrient where deficiency and lower levels of the nutrient may be associated with worsening Parkinson’s disease symptoms. It may be a good idea to ask your doctor to include Vitamin D checks to your regular blood tests. A study published in the journal  Acta Neurologica Scandinavia reports that patients with PD had significantly lower Vitamin D levels relative to healthy controls. The study included 182 patients with PD and 185 healthy controls.  Most concerning was that PD patients with lower vitamin D levels had a significantly higher frequency of falls and insomnia. More information: Hui‐Jun Zhang et al, Relationship ...
August 3, 2019 - Parkinson FIT Weekend Update

August 3, 2019 – Parkinson FIT Weekend Update

This Week’s Highlights: Sustainable Exercise for Parkinson's; inhalable levodopa; Virtual Reality for PD Therapy; When grilled cheese attacks; inspiring people with PD; alpha-synuclein & spontaneous origami; PD Exercise news; Dyskinesia predictors; prescription drugs that might decrease or increase PD risk; dopamine and acetylcholine; basal tears vs. skin tests for biomarkers; blue light therapy glasses; PD constipation; and more ...
USC Develops Virtual Reality Application for Parkinson's Physiotherapy

USC Develops Virtual Reality Application for Parkinson’s Physiotherapy

Virtual Reality (VR) technology offers interesting possibilities for Parkinson's disease therapy. University of Southern California engineers are teaming with researchers and VR game designers to help Parkinson’s patients walk steadily with confidence, creating a VR application called Overcome. Traditional physiotherapy is centered around strength training, stretching, and movement practice, usually in a clinic setting. However, studies have shown that activity performed in the context of the environment, like say, stepping over an obstacle, aids long-term retention in motor skills far more than simply being told to lift one’s foot. This game, in an immersive virtual reality setting, offers the player ...
"Sustainable Exercise" for Parkinson's

“Sustainable Exercise” for Parkinson’s

An article about an exercise research study prompted me to partially rethink my Parkinson’s Disease exercise philosophy. Exercise intensity may slow Parkinson’s progression, but in the long run, exercise sustainability is essential to a better quality of life ...
When Grilled Cheese Attacks: Gooey Goodness or Gruesome Grub?

When Grilled Cheese Attacks: Gooey Goodness or Gruesome Grub?

Comfort food crisis in Canada: (Satire alert) How many lives must be cut short by grilled cheese related deaths before the government takes action? In Quebec, apparently, the answer is 2. Act now to ensure a fair trial! Save the grilled cheese! Save the croque monsieur sans jambon! Save the cheese toasty! ...
Jimmy Choi - “Find Something That Moves You, and Move!”

Jimmy Choi – “Find Something That Moves You, and Move!”

Diagnosed with PD in 2003, at the young age of 27, Jimmy Choi spent 8 years in a combination of denial and self-pity, until he found the strength and resolve to regain control of his life. Jimmy’s story is best told by the videos included below. We all can’t become elite athletes like him...but that’s not what makes his story special. As he says in one of the videos below, his American Ninja Warrior experience gave him his 15 minutes of fame, and presented an opportunity for people to hear his message. His advice to others is simple and succinct: ...
July 27, 2019 - Parkinson FIT Weekend Update

July 27, 2019 – Parkinson FIT Weekend Update

This Week's Highlights: Dog Days of Summer; if Parkinson's starts in the gut, what does this mean; getting the most from your remaining dopamine neurons; international PD soccer tournament; PD smartwatch is too retro for its own good; marijuana and pain; forget about hot chilis; research briefs; inspiring people with PD; Improv to Improve PD; and much more ...
Food for Thought: Parkinson's and the Gut-Brain Connection

Food for Thought: Parkinson’s and the Gut-Brain Connection

It began with a gut feeling. Every week, another study provides insight into the gut-brain connection, and the possibility that Parkinson’s disease begins in the gut. What does this mean? ...
Ray Kennedy Cup: International Parkinson's Football Tournament

Ray Kennedy Cup: International Parkinson’s Football Tournament

Held annually since 2012 in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Ray Kennedy Cup is an international football tournament for people with Parkinson's. Organizers expect this year's tournament on August 31, 2019 to feature 10-14 teams from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, England and Scotland. There is still time to register if you have a team that is interested, with registrations accepted through August 1. (A team consists of a maximum of 10 players, of which 7 can be on the course at the same time. For lack of Parkinson's players, the tournament management may allow up to 2 players without Parkinson's to be used ...
July 21, 2019 - Parkinson FIT Weekend Update

July 21, 2019 – Parkinson FIT Weekend Update

This Week's Highlights: It began with a gut feeling, the latest on the gut-brain connection and Parkinson's; Yale study challenges a long held assumption about Parkinson’s effect on neurotransmitters other than dopamine; Merck Discontinuing Sinemet CR; is PD causing your pain, or just contributing; taking control of your PD, encouraging people with PD to exercise; plus more news and insight ...
"My person with Parkinson’s won’t do anything. I can’t get them to exercise, and I don’t know what to do."

“My person with Parkinson’s won’t do anything. I can’t get them to exercise, and I don’t know what to do.”

The Davis Phinney Foundation (DPF) has an article on their website that is an interesting read. Apparently, one of the most common questions they receive from friends and care partners of people with Parkinson’s is this: "My person with Parkinson’s won’t do anything. I can’t get them to exercise, and I don’t know what to do." If that is the situation that you find yourself in, I can appreciate the sense of desperation and the desire to help. However, if you truly want to help, begin with some self-examination. If your friend or partner overhears you making a statement like this, you may actually ...
PAIN: Does Parkinson's Cause Pain, or Does Pain Make Other PD Symptoms Worse?

PAIN: Does Parkinson’s Cause Pain, or Does Pain Make Other PD Symptoms Worse?

Is pain a symptom of Parkinson’s? Or do the motor symptoms of PD directly or indirectly cause pain? Or is pain a symptom of something else? Arthritis? Aging? Or is pain a result of lack of exercise? Over exercise? Improper exercise form? Improper exercise instruction? Some combination of factors? Those are interesting questions, but more importantly does pain contribute to the severity of other Parkinson’s symptoms? ...
Parkinson's Disease Snowflake Analogy v2.0

Parkinson’s Disease Snowflake Analogy v2.0

The Parkinson's Disease is like a snowflake analogy was cute the first time we heard it. But after a few repetitions, it got a bit tired. Thankfully there is another Parkinson's snowflake analogy that is, perhaps, a bit more realistic. Have you heard this one? ...
July 14, 2019 - Parkinson's Weekly Update

July 14, 2019 – Parkinson’s Weekly Update

This Week's Highlights: NASA sending Parkinson’s brain cells to space; Is red light therapy a potential hope for treating pain associated with PD; Understanding exercise intensity; reconnecting through rhythm; Info on Parkinson’s meds & nutritional supplements; gene therapy nears trial for PD-GBA; Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease (YOPD); How long do the effects of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery last?; MS, ALS & PD: Cure one, cure all?; Inspiring people with PD; and more ...
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