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Parkinson’s Today Blog

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Welcome to the National Parkinson Foundation's blog, where you can keep up-to-date on the latest research, read about what's hot in the Parkinson's community, learn caregiving tips and more.

What's Hot in PD? MRI and Deep Brain Stimulation Devices: Is it Safe to Have an MRI with a DBS in Place?

Date: 
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

There has been a great deal of recent controversy as to whether a MRI can be safely performed in Parkinson’s disease patients (PD) with deep brain stimulator devices. The overarching worry has been that the MRI machines will heat the DBS, and this will in turn result in an irreversible injury to the brain. Despite these worries there have been surprisingly few cases of MRI-related heating injuries associated with DBS devices.

What's Hot in PD? Take Care of Your Bones as They Are Affected in Parkinson’s Disease (Even in Men)

Date: 
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

Last month, Abou-Raya and colleagues from Alexandria, Egypt offered us a sobering reminder that the bones are often involved and may be “sick” in Parkinson’s disease patients.  They looked at bone health in 82 patients with Parkinson’s disease, and in 68 control patients free of neurological disease.   What they discovered was that there were striking differences.

What's Hot in PD? Is it Time to Start Paying Attention to Pain Symptoms in Parkinson’s Disease Patients?

Date: 
Monday, August 3, 2009
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

Why is it that when we survey patients with Parkinson’s disease they frequently report pain, yet most neurologists and practitioners fail to address it or alternatively sweep it under the carpet?  Shockingly, the more that comes to light about pain in Parkinson’s disease, the more exposed and embarrassed we as a medical profession should be.  Blair Ford, a movement disorders neurologist at Columbia University in New York city, nailed it precisely by titling his recent review of the subject, “Pain in Parkinson’s Disease: T

What's Hot in PD? Glutathione Fails to Demonstrate Significant Improvement in Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms in a Recently Published Trial

Date: 
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

Dr. Robert Hauser and colleagues at the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) Center of Excellence at the University of South Florida recently put a highly controversial drug of interest in Parkinson's disease to the test. They carefully performed the first randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of intravenous glutathione therapy in twenty one Parkinson's disease patients. The therapy was well tolerated but there was no significant improvement in any outcome variable. 

What's Hot in PD? Keeping an Eye on Trials Important to the Parkinson’s Disease Patient

Date: 
Monday, June 1, 2009
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

Each year as we move into summer, the Movement Disorders Society holds their annual International Congress where thousands of investigators from all over the world converge in a central location to present the latest research.  Each year we keep our eyes open and our ears primed for news on the latest Parkinson’s disease therapies. This year several projects caught our attention. 

What's Hot in PD? Time for the Parkinson’s Disease Patients to Break Out the Suntan Lotion: Increased Risk of Melanoma in Parkinson’s Disease

Date: 
Monday, May 4, 2009
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

There is a growing body of evidence supporting the notion that melanoma may have a greater risk of occurring in the setting of Parkinson’s disease.  The latest study was presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 61st Annual meeting in Seattle, WA.  A cohort of nearly 160,000 patients were followed carefully, and of those patients, 616 developed Parkinson’s disease.  A family history of melanoma roughly doubled the risk of developing Parkinson’s.  Melanoma has additionally been shown to be more common in

What's Hot in PD? Finally a DBS Expert Consensus Statement Aimed at Their True Customers: The Patients

Date: 
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

As the years roll by, too often we continue to preach and throw academic pearls in the general direction of our patients.  We preach these pearls and cite their validity by pointing the patient toward well-crafted consensus statements appearing in high impact medical journals.  This sterile academic approach has left more than a handful of patients confused in making decisions regarding their own therapy. 

What's Hot in PD? Pesticides and Environmental Exposures in Parkinson’s Disease: Should We Stay Away From The Stink Truck?

Date: 
Monday, March 2, 2009
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

When I was a kid we used to ride our bicycles around the neighborhood and in the afternoons we chased one of two trucks; the ice cream truck or the pesticide spraying “stink” truck.  Needless to say, ice cream has not been implicated in causing Parkinson’s disease, however, certain pesticides and environmental exposures have been making the news for possible Parkinson associations.  There has been a recent explosion of research into pesticide exposure and Parkinson’s disease.

What's Hot in PD? Breaking a Sweat: Is Exercise On Its Way Back Into the Armamentarium for Treatment and Protection Against Parkinson’s Disease?

Date: 
Monday, February 2, 2009
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

Many years before adequate medication treatments were developed to address the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, some doctors recommended exercise, staying busy, and when engaging in activities being as “physical” as possible.  There are stories of institutionalized Parkinson’s disease patients (prior to the levodopa era) who were asked to push the chart cart for doctors on rounds, or to fold towels for hospital staff.  Early observations about improvement in Parkinson’s disease patients following task specific physical ex

What's Hot in PD? Why are Transplant Trials Struggling to Succeed in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease?

Date: 
Monday, January 5, 2009
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

Recently, another transplant trial in Parkinson’s disease was reported as a failure (Spheramine).  It seemed rational many years ago when scientists proposed cell replacement as the penultimate neurorestorative therapy for Parkinson’s disease, but sometimes rational is not enough.  The track record, however has been less than expected.  There have however, been many lessons learned and the experience will hopefully help us toward better therapies in the future.

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