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What's Hot in PD?

What's Hot in PD? Update on the Use of Mucuna Pruriens for the Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease

Date: 
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

Mucuna pruriens variant utilis (MP) has long been used as an alternative to over the counter levodopa. MP is a leguminous plant that grows in both tropical and subtropical environments. Hidden in its seed is levodopa, which is the most important medication for a Parkinson’s disease patient. In this month’s What’s Hot we will review the studies supporting MP use and discuss future directions and global implications for this therapy.

What's Hot in PD?: Subcutaneous Apomorphine Infusions

Date: 
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

Should we consider subcutaneous apomorphine infusions for Parkinson’s disease patients who do not want deep brain stimulation or a dopamine pump? There is a growing interest among people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and families for a “nonsurgical” alternative to deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery or to Duopa pump therapy. The idea of brain surgery or a feeding tube have been cited as being undesirable for large numbers of PD patients.

What's Hot in PD? Everything a Parkinson’s Patient Needs to Know about Safinamide (Xadago): Should You Switch?

Date: 
Monday, April 3, 2017
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

Safinamide (Xadago) was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD) medication fluctuations. Safinamide is a pill that when absorbed in the bloodstream travels to the brain and affects dopaminergic and non-dopaminergic systems.

What's Hot in PD? Tips Every Parkinson’s Patient Who Is Considering Stem Cell Transplantion Should Consider

Date: 
Monday, March 6, 2017
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

Hope is something that is critical for everyone living with Parkinson’s disease.Hope for improvement in symptoms. Hope for a better life. Hope for a treatment that may one day arrest disease progression or even deliver a cure. We should embrace hope, but we should also protect everyone living with Parkinson’s disease and their family members from emotionally as well as financially draining opportunities which may overpromise and under-deliver.

What's Hot in PD? Is DBS Plus a Viable Future Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease?

Date: 
Thursday, February 2, 2017
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

Over the past two decades, deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy for patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) has been extremely successful. It has been estimated that DBS has meaningfully helped tens of thousands of patients worldwide, improving tremor, dyskinesia, on-off fluctuations and several other Parkinson’s symptoms. DBS has however, fallen short in addressing disease progression issues including walking, talking and thinking.

What's Hot in PD? Parkinson’s Disease and Parkinsonism: Updates on Welding and Mining

Date: 
Thursday, January 5, 2017
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

There has long been a fascination about the relationship between welding, mining and Parkinson-like symptoms. In this month’s What’s Hot blog and in my NEJM Journal Watch blog I explore this murky history and relationship. Doctors and health care professionals long ago identified a Parkinson-like syndrome that developed in welders and manganese miners. Manganese, the chemical, has been linked to Parkinson-like symptoms (also referred to as parkinsonism).

What's Hot in PD? Accumulating Evidence for a Role of Gut Microbiota in Parkinson’s Disease

Date: 
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

Considerable evidence has been mounting in support of a relationship between the gastrointestinal (GI) system and Parkinson’s disease (PD). Many pathologists and neurologists even believe that Parkinson’s may start in the gut, but this view remains speculative. Many GI symptoms, such as constipation, occur as prominent and disabling PD symptoms. In the July 2013 What’s Hot in PD? column, I addressed H.

What's Hot in PD?: Current Steering and New Deep Brain Stimulation Technologies: What’s Here and What’s Coming

Date: 
Friday, November 4, 2016
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

A surprising fact about Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery technology is that human DBS leads (the wire implanted in the brain and connected to the neurostimulator) and their four shiny, tiny contacts have not really changed much over the last two decades. One reason for the durability of DBS lead design has been the long-term beneficial effects of using this simple approach.

What's Hot in PD? Lymphoctye Activation Gene 3 (LAG3) Antibodies as a Potential Future Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

Date: 
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

Ted Dawson, PhD, and colleagues at the Johns Hopkins University, a National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence, have uncovered a potential new approach to treat Parkinson’s disease (PD). Researchers in Dawson’s laboratory focused on a protein called lymphocyte-activation gene 3, known as LAG3. This protein has been shown to be important in cell to cell transfers of α-synuclein (Lewy bodies), which is a protein found in the brain of a person with PD.

What's Hot in PD? The Importance of Imaging Biomarkers to Diagnose and Track Parkinson’s Disease Progression

Date: 
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

A recent press release from the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke detailed exciting ongoing work aimed to uncover magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques capable of tracking Parkinson’s disease (PD) progression. In this month’s What’s Hot in PD? column we will review the recent progress of MRI-based biomarkers for Parkinson’s diagnosis and progression, and discuss the importance of the findings, especially in the context of clinical trials.

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