Parkinson’s Disease

Is there a connection between stress and Parkinson’s disease?

Most neurology text books will state that stress seems to exacerbate Parkinson’s disease symptoms and persons with Parkinson’s disease often describe the worsening of their tremor when having to speak publicly or the worsening of dyskinesias while watching a suspenseful movie scene. In spite of this observation there has not been a lot of research really examining the interplay of stress and the development or exacerbation of Parkinson’s. We know that stress can have effects … Read More

Bionic handball: A daughter’s take on deep brain stimulation

In 2013, Dennis and his family traveled from Missoula to Portland so he could undergo Deep Brain Stimulation surgery for his Parkinson’s disease. We’ve shared Dennis’ Parkinson’s story and the perspective from his wife Mary Ellen, as the primary caregiver. Now, their daughter Daphne gives us a peek at what it was like for their family the night before surgery. Tuesday, August 6, 2013 Bionic Handball When you or a loved one is suffering from a disease, every … Read More

Living with a husband who has Parkinson’s disease

Dennis was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 15 years ago and underwent Deep Brain Stimulation at OHSU in 2013. Last week, we heard his story, from the patient perspective. Here, his wife Mary Ellen provides a look into the caregiver’s frame of mind. Originally published on Summit For Parkinson’s, a group of Montanans giving back to the Parkinson’s community. The caregiver’s perspective “How’s Dennis?” That is the typical question of friends and acquaintances wanting to show they care about the health … Read More

Meet Dennis: Husband, educator, Parkinson’s patient

In 2013, Dennis and his family traveled from Missoula to Portland so he could undergo Deep Brain Stimulation surgery for his Parkinson’s disease. In honor of Parkinson’s Awareness Month, Dennis has agreed to share his Parkinson’s story. Originally published on Summit For Parkinson’s, a group of Montanans giving back to the Parkinson’s community. My intimate experience with Parkinson’s disease began 20 years ago when my father, at age 74, was diagnosed and began his journey dealing with the … Read More

Your health questions answered: Is pain a part of Parkinson’s disease?

You ask. OHSU experts answer. Q: I was once told that pain is not a part of Parkinson’s disease. Is that true? A: Pain is a common symptom in people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and people with PD are more likely to have pain than those without PD. It is unclear what causes this increase of painful symptoms, however. There are several theories including loss of dopamine or other neurotransmitters (natural chemicals) in the brain, … Read More

Meet Tianyi Mao: Looking at brain circuits in a new light

The Brain Research Awareness and Information Network (BRAINet) is the volunteer outreach organization of the OHSU Brain Institute. Each month, they come together for a lecture luncheon. Tianyi Mao, Ph.D. was a recent guest speaker. Our brains are the most sophisticated computing machines on the planet. They are amazingly plastic, yet macroscopically their structures are conserved across individuals within a species. Information, both internal and external, is processed by such stereotypical brain circuits. It flows from one sub-region in … Read More

There’s an app for that! How mobile devices can help memory and planning

Over the last few years we have had a surge in the availability and affordability of “apps” or programs that can run on your phone, tablet or other mobile device. Many apps promise to make life easier and more convenient. It is sometimes difficult to know if the app stands up to those claims, or whether it would just be easier to set an alarm by the bed, look at a paper calendar on the … Read More

Vitamin D, mood and memory in persons with Parkinson’s disease

Vitamin D has become a hot topic in recent years. For many years, vitamin D has been known to play a role in bone health. More recent research suggests it may have a much broader role in multiple body systems. In regard to the brain, we know that there are receptors for vitamin D in most parts of the human brain. In persons without Parkinson’s disease, some research suggests vitamin D may be related to … Read More

Lewy body dementia — a less-known cause of cognitive problems

Not all people with cognitive problems have Alzheimer’s disease. While Alzheimer’s is the most common reason for memory problems as people get older, there are other types of dementia. Lewy body dementia or Lewy body disease is a much less common cause of cognitive problems and is seen in about seven in a thousand people over the age of 65. People with LBD tend to have trouble with visual spatial function and executive function. Executive … Read More

‘Neuroprotection': an elusive goal in fighting brain diseases

About 15 years ago, I wrote an article about treating Alzheimer’s disease that divided treatments into two categories: “symptomatic” and “neuroprotectant.” There were real options in the former category. But the “neuroprotectant” idea was more theoretical — more of a “coming attractions” approach — citing the studies that were underway to identify treatments that would actually save brain cells, protecting those neurons from further harm, and actually slowing or arresting the disease process. Sadly, despite … Read More

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