PARKINSON’S UPDATE – PART 2
Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive nervous system disorder, known for causing issues with movement such as tremors, balance problems, slow movements, and stiffness. Some also experience a loss of sense of smell and problems sleeping. The Journal of the American Medical Association predicts that over 12.9 million people will be affected by 2040. The exact causes of Parkinson’s are not yet fully understood.
While there is no cure for Parkinson’s at this time, there are a number of treatments that can ease symptoms. Parkinson’s medications are the mainstay of treatment, but physical, occupational, and speech therapy can be critical to the treatment plan. Surgical options such as Deep Brain Stimulation also have an important role for a subset of patients with Parkinson’s disease. Finally, complementary therapies like physical therapy and marijuana can be used to treat some Parkinson’s disease symptoms.
PD TREATMENT OPTIONS
Focused Ultrasound is guided by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), high-intensity, inaudible sound waves that are emitted into the brain. Where these waves cross, they create high energy. This high energy creates heat, destroying a very specific area in the brain connected to tremors.
Focused ultrasound uses computer software through an MRI. It is considered non-invasive because it does not involve incisions or holes in the skull. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the procedure for those with Parkinson’s disease (PD) tremors.
Duopa Therapy is a form of carbidopa/levodopa delivered in gel form – called enteral suspension – rather than a pill. It is used to treat the motor symptoms of PD. Before you can start Duopa, you need surgery to make a small hole (called a “stoma”) in your stomach wall to place a tube in your intestine. A pump then delivers Duopa directly to your intestine through this tube. Duopa uses the same active ingredients as orally-administered carbidopa/levodopa but is designed to improve absorption and reduce “off” times by delivering the drug directly to the small intestine.
Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is one promising treatment. This form of therapy uses electrical stimulation in the brain to treat Parkinson’s-related movement problems, such as tremors, stiffness, difficulty in walking, and slowed movement and may be an option when medications become less effective or side effects too onerous. In a funded study by NINDS and the Department of Veterans Affairs, DBS — as compared to medication and physical therapy for Parkinson’s symptoms — was superior at improving motor symptoms and quality of life.
2017 research at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh indicated that optogenetic manipulation of certain targeted neurons can provide long lasting therapeutic effects in dopamine-depleted mice. Optogenetics is a technique that enables scientists to activate or inhibit specific neuron activity through the use of light. Because optogenetics is still in its early stages in human disease models, the authors of this study chose to use a mouse model.
Physical Therapy of at least 2.5 hours a week can slow the decline of PD, found in the largest clinical study of Parkinson’s disease through the Centers of Excellence network. Among others, best practices include early referral to physical therapy and encouragement of exercise as part of treatment.
Parkinson’sBoxingSc can help with body movement and exercise. They enable patients to restore the motion they thought was gone forever. It requires work, but it is worth it. At Parkinson’s Boxing, you won’t face going through the motions alone because your coach will be with you as you learn new ways to fight.
Medical Marijuana is now legalized in many states and Washington, DC, and there is strong interest in its therapeutic properties. Researchers are testing marijuana, which is also called cannabis, as a treatment for many illnesses and diseases, including neurological conditions, with Parkinson’s disease high on the list. But despite several clinical studies, it has not been demonstrated that cannabis can directly benefit people with PD.
If you or a loved one is in Myrtle Beach, Grand Dunes, Pawleys Island, Litchfield, or within the Horry County area and you have any questions or concerns about their health, please give Amethyst Home Care a call at (843) 984-0739, toll-free (800) 476-7059 or email us at email@example.com to meet with one of our RNs for a more comprehensive personalized home assessment.
You are not alone.