Tag: parkinson’s disease

Physical Therapy ‘Ineffective’ for PD? Headlines Overstate Study’s Conclusions

A recent study from England involving physical therapy, occupational therapy, and individuals with Parkinson Disease (PD) has generated plenty of dramatic headlines about physical therapy’s supposed “ineffectiveness.” But as is often the case with dramatic headlines, there’s more to the story.

The study in question, published in JAMA Neurology, aimed to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of individualized physical and occupational therapy for individuals with PD by comparing outcomes at baseline and 3 months among 381 participants who received treatment with an equally sized control group that didn’t.

Researchers found little to no difference in outcomes primarily based on the Nottingham Extended Activities of Daily Living (NEADL) scale, and secondarily based on the Parkinson Disease Questionnaire-39 and the EruoQol-5D, writing that “physiotherapy and occupational therapy were not associated with immediate or medium-term clinical improvements in [activities of daily living] or quality of life in mild to moderate PD.”

Full story PT ineffective for Parkinson Disease at APTA

Parkinson’s patients may not benefit from physical therapy

People with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease do not benefit from physical therapy, researchers in England found in a new study.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham said there were no clinical or lifestyle improvements as a result of physical and occupational therapy, suggesting better programs need to be created to benefit patients.

Parkinson’s disease affects about 7 million people around the world, and 4 percent of people over the age of 80.

The study was focused on patients with mild to moderate Parkinson’s, which some researchers say should be interpreted as narrowing who is referred for physical therapy but should not rule it out. Part of the motivation for the study, the researchers said, was to be sure funds in England’s National Health Service are allocated for effective treatments.

Full story of Parkinson’s disease and PT at UPI

FDA Approves Second Deep Brain Stimulation Device for PD, Essential Tremor

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a second deep brain stimulation (DBS) device that it says can reduce Parkinson disease (PD) symptoms and essential tremor, and could even allow essential tremor patients to control their symptoms without the use of medications.

Developed by the St Jude Medical Center, the Brio Neurostimulation System consists of a 2-inch square, half-inch thick rechargeable battery pack and electrical pulse generator implanted under the skin of the upper chest, with wire leads that attach to electrodes placed in specific locations in the patient’s brain (locations vary depending on whether the device is being used to treat PD or essential tremor). The pulse generator supplies continuous low-energy pulses to the brain.

Full story of deep brain stimulation device at APTA

Survey of Individuals With PD Shows Strong Appreciation for Exercise, Role of PT

A recently released survey of 1,500 individuals with Parkinson Disease (PD) reveals a high level of appreciation for the importance of exercise among this population, and a fairly strong understanding—both by people with PD and physicians—of the benefits of physical therapy in treatment.

The survey was aimed at getting the patient’s perspective on exercise by asking a series of questions that included not only how much and how often participants exercise, but their perceptions of the benefits, views on perceived barriers to exercise, and general life satisfaction. Results are presented in aggregate and by a variety of demographic factors, as well as according to the number of years since the individual was diagnosed with PD.

Full story of exercise and Parkinson Disease at APTA

Study Says Predictors of Parkinson Disease May Be Present 10 Years Before Diagnosis

New research from England is connecting the dots between Parkinson disease (PD) and a range of motor and nonmotor symptoms that could occur as much as 10 years before a PD diagnosis is made—some of which, like depression or shoulder pain, may escape a connection to the disease and instead be diagnosed as a separate condition.

In an article published in the January issue of The Lancet, researchers report on their study of 54,000 British men and women over a 14-year period (1996-2012), 8,166 of whom were diagnosed with PD at some point, and 46,775 who did not have the disease. By following health records over time, authors were able to trace several “prediagnostic features” that could have a connection to the earliest signs of damage from PD.

Full story of predictors of Parkinson’s disease at APTA

11 new gene variants linked to Alzheimer’s disease

In the largest genetic analysis of Alzheimer’s ever completed, scientists have discovered 11 new genes that may be tied to the late-onset form of the dementia disease.

Scientists scanned the brains of 74,076 older volunteers with Alzheimer’s and others who did not have the disease in 15 countries to come up with their findings. The study was published in Nature Genetics on Oct. 27.

Prior to this study, only 11 gene variants had been linked to late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, including one called Apolipoprotein E-e4 (APOE-e4) which appeared to have the strongest impact on risk.

Now, with the latest research, scientists have doubled the known gene variants linked to the disease.

These genes may play a role in how cells function, including how microglial cells (cells that form the support structure of the central nervous system) react to areas of inflammation. Other gene variants were shown to affect brain cell function and synaptic function in the hippocampus, which is the area of the brain responsible for memory and learning.

In particular, researchers say the link to one newly-discovered gene variant known as HLA-DRB5/DRB1 is a landmark finding. It plays a large role in the major histocompatibility complex region of the brain, which is an area of cell surface molecules that control how white blood cells — which are involved in the immune system — interact. This area of the brain has also been connected with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. It could mean that the immune system has something to do with Alzheimer’s.

Full story of Alzheimer’s and genes variants at CBS News

Deep stimulation restores lost brain function

Stimulation Restores Lost Brain FunctionCarefully applying electricity to the brain can reduce tremors and involuntary movements associated with Parkinson’s disease and a wide range of other conditions, and now a new compilation of major research findings and clinical recommendations is available to help guide referring physicians and other clinicians whose patients might benefit from the therapy.

In a paper published in The New England Journal of Medicine, University of Florida neurologist Michael S. Okun, M.D., co-director of the UF Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration, describes refinements in the technique, called deep brain stimulation, or DBS, that allow physicians to tailor treatment based on the type and severity of symptoms patients are experiencing.

UF physicians use the approach not just for patients with Parkinson’s disease, but also with Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis-related tremors, Tourette syndrome and depression, as well as dystonia, which causes excessive movement and abnormal muscle postures. UF is a Tyler’s Hope Center for Comprehensive Dystonia Care, one of the largest dystonia treatment facilities in the world.

Full story of stimulation for brain function at Sun Sentinel

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/

Stem cell hope for Parkinson’s patients

By Belinda Tasker

Stem Cell for Parkinson'sTRANSPLANTING stem cells into the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease could one day replace medication as the best way to alleviate their symptoms.

People with the degenerative brain condition gradually lose dopamine-producing neurons, affecting their motor skills and causing their limbs to shake.

Australian scientists have come up with a way to effectively reprogram embryonic stem cells so they can act as the dopamine neurons would normally.

While the technique needs to be refined before clinical trials start, the hope is to one day transplant the reprogrammed stem cells into the brains of Parkinson’s patients.

Full story at News.com.au

Computer games help Parkinson’s patients: Study

By David W Freeman

Computer Games Help Parkinson's Patient(CBS) There’s no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but symptoms of the debilitating neurological disorder sometimes respond to medication and surgery, along with physical therapy. And now researchers are touting a new and surprising weapon against Parkinson’s.

They’re talking computer games.

Parkinson’s patients who played experimental computer-based physical therapy games experienced small improvements in balance and walking ability, according to a pilot study conducted by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco School of Nursing and a game maker. After playing the games three times a week for 12 weeks, more than half of the 20 participants showed improved balance, walking speed, and stride length, according to a written statement issued by the university.

Full story at CBS News

‘Brain Fitness’ Program Improves Memory

By Deborah Brauser

Geriatric Patient Memory ExerciseA combination of brain exercises and healthy lifestyle changes can improve memory performance in healthy elderly adults, new research suggests.

In a sample study of 115 participants from 2 live-in retirement communities, those who underwent a new educational program (that included memory training, physical activity, stress reduction, and better diet) showed significant improvements on a variety of measures after just 6 weeks, including word recognition and recall.

“I was very pleased with these significant results in a sample that was not huge,” senior study author Gary Small, MD, professor of aging at the University of California–Los Angeles (UCLA) and director of the UCLA Longevity Center, told Medscape Medical News.

Full story at Medscape Today