Call Our HELPLINE: 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636)

Podcast: Substantial Matters

Every other Tuesday, we bring you a new episode of Substantial Matters: Life and Science of Parkinson’s. Host Dan Keller, PhD, interviews Parkinson’s experts to highlight the treatments and techniques that can help you live a better life now, as well as the research that can bring a better tomorrow. Episodes focus on a range of topics relevant to your daily life, including new levodopaThe medication most commonly given to control the movement symptoms of Parkinson’s, usually with carbidopa. It is converted in the brain into dopamine. delivery methods, exercise, clinical trials, nutrition and more!

Subscribe: iTunesGoogle PlayTuneIn (Amazon Echo), Spotify or RSS Feed. (Need help subscribing? See our guide for help.)

To get started, listen to the episodes in the following playlist, or learn more about each episode below.

If you would like to suggest a topic for the podcast, or if you have questions or feedback after listening, let us know at

Episode 50: Encountering Gender Differences: Women and PD Initiative

Encountering Gender Differences: Women and PD Initiative Edit Section: Basic page pages are not under access control Given the differences women may encounter when dealing with their Parkinson’s Disease (PD), the Parkinson’s Foundation is leading the first national effort to address gender disparities in Parkinson’s research and care as part of an overall Women and PD Initiative. The Women and PD Teams to Advance Learning and Knowledge project (Women and PD TALK, for short) aims to develop new patient-centered recommendations to improve the health of women living with PD. More Info

Episode 49: Parkinson’s Disease vs. Parkinsonism: What’s the Difference?

If a person develops symptoms of tremor, slow movements, and stiffness, it could be early signs of Parkinson’s disease (PD) but it may also be the beginnings of any of a group of conditions known by the general term “parkinsonism,” conditions that have some symptoms in common with PD but differ in important ways. Licensed Clinical Social Worker Paula Wiener, a Senior Parkinson’s Information Specialist with the Parkinson’s Foundation, describes the difference between Parkinson’s disease and parkinsonism. More Info

Episode 48: Seeking a Second Opinion After a Parkinson's Diagnosis

Dr. Carlos Singer, Director of the Division of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders and the Director of the Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida, describes the importance of getting a second opinion from a movement disorders specialist can be a valuable endeavor and about how different people can come to terms with and accept their new diagnosis. More Info

Episode 47: Swallowing Issues and Oral Care with Parkinsons

Everyone should practice good oral health care, but it is particularly critical for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Unfortunately, at the time of diagnosis, many people do not receive information about oral health problems that may arise later in the disease.  Dr. Cameron Jeter offers some helpful suggestions to maintain oral care and avoid problems, including dry mouth, drooling, dysphagia, deadly bacteria, and swallowing difficulties. More Info

Episode 46: Addressing Sleep Discomfort with Parkinsons

Most people with Parkinson’s disease have trouble getting a good night’s sleep due to an inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get back to sleep if awoken at night. Anne-Louise LaFontaine, Director of the McGill University Movement Disorders Clinic in Montreal, Canada, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, discusses the problems and offers solutions. More Info

Episode 45: Patient Engagement in Research: The Parkinson’s Advocates in Research Program (PAIR)

In this podcast, Karlin Schroeder, Director of Community Engagement at the Parkinson’s Foundation, and Kevin Kwok, a Research Advocate in the PAIR program, describe the program, its aims, and how to get involved for anyone wishing to become an advocate. More Info

Episode 44: Talking to Children About Parkinson's

In this second episode of our two-part Holiday Series: Families and Parkinson’s, Soania Mathur, MD, CCFP, offers advice about how to talk to children about Parkinson's, where to turn for resources, and even how having a parent, grandparent, or other relative with a chronic disease can have positive aspects for a child. More Info

Episode 43: Parenting and Parkinson's: Raising Children While Living with Parkinson's

Social worker Elaine Book of the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Center and the University of British Columbia Movement Disorders Clinic shares how she helps families cope with Parkinson's disease by discussing some of the new challenges and demands, what changes may occur in the family, and those things that remain the same. More Info

Episode 42: Music Therapy for Parkinson's

Music therapist Dr. Concetta Tomaino, Executive Director and co-founder of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function in Mount Vernon, New York, discusses who can benefit from music therapy, how it is done, what neuroscience research has found, and where to find information on music therapy, including the multiple ways therapy can alleviate some problems associated with Parkinson’s. More Info

Episode 41: Palliative Care as Supportive Care in PD

Benzi Kluger, MD, MS, director of the University of Colorado’s Neurology and Supportive Care clinics, says that palliative care should begin at the time of diagnosis. He describes the results of a new Parkinson’s study and how it benefited participants who received it and viewed it as ‘supportive care’, as well as how palliative care can be incorporated into daily routines for people with Parkinson’s. More Info


Episode 40: Dance Therapy for PD

Erica Hornthal, LCPC, BC-DMT describes DMT, how DMT therapists are trained, what goes on during a therapy session, and how people can find a therapist or program. More Info

Episode 39: PD Across Race & Ethnicity: Outreach to the African American Community

Dr. Reversa Joseph, a movement disorders specialist and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, discusses outreach, education, and perception in the African American community and her efforts to raise awareness of Parkinson's. More Info

Episode 38: More Than a Movement Disorder: Addressing Mood and Coping

Licensed Clinical Social Worker Jessica Shurer discusses the emotional changes that may occur throughout the course of Parkinson's disease along with suggestions for how people who are unable to travel to large medical centers may find help to address their emotional needs. More Info

Episode 37: Mental Health in a Medical Setting

Mental health issues are often a part of a chronic disease such as Parkinson’s, but no one comes into a disease as a blank slate. Licensed Clinical Social Worker Kara Barton discusses how to recognize mental distress, ways to access care, the healthcare providers who can help, and possible ways of getting care when insurance does not cover it. More Info

Episode 36: Depression in Parkinson's

 Dr. Richard discusses how people with PD and their families should have an increased level of awareness of what depression may look like and feel confident about bringing it up with their healthcare team. More Info

Episode 35: Preclinical Models of PD

 Richard Smeyne is a professor of neuroscience and director of the Jefferson Comprehensive Movement Disorder and Parkinson’s Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and discusses the value of research on preclinical models of PD. More Info

Episode 34: New Pathways & Drug Development

Doctor Michael Okun discusses Parkinson’s disease mechanisms as possible targets for drug development, current drug statuses, and how to increase the process of bringing a drug to market to help people with Parkinson's. More Info

Episode 33: The Parkinson’s Prevalence Project

James Beck believes the number of people living with Parkinson’s in the United States has been dramatically underestimated and does not represent the ethnic diversity of people affected. He explains Parkinson’s Prevalence Project is designed to give a clearer picture of PD in North America. More Info

Episode 32: The Development of the Parkinson's Outcomes Project

Fernando Cubillos, Director of Research Programs for the Parkinson’s Foundation, discusses leading the largest clinical study of Parkinson's to date. More Info

Episode 31: Allied Team Training for Parkinson’s

Ruth Hagestuen, founder of ATTP, discusses the the history and future of ATTP as she transitions out of her role. More Info

Episode 30: Team Care for PD: Why It’s Important

Lisa Mann discusses team care for people with Parkinson's and how rehab therapists and health care professionals can be brought in to help as needed. More Info

Episode 29: Home Care Program for Advanced PD

Dr. Jori Fleisher of the Rush University Medical Center Movement Disorders Program in Chicago, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, helped develop a home visit program to address this issue when she was at New York University Medical Center. More Info

Episode 28: Autonomic Problems

Dr. Tanya Gurevich focuses on symptoms and challenges beyond movement problems, how a comprehensive, team approach can benefit people with Parkinson's with matters such as blood pressure drops, urinary symptoms, sleep disturbances, sexual and intimacy matters, and other quality of life issues affecting them and their caregivers. More Info

Episode 27: More Than Movement: Addressing Cognitive and Behavioral Challenges in Caring for PD

Dr. Jennifer Goldman discusses some of the cognitive and behavioral care challenges and offers advice for ways to address them. More Info

Episode 26: Medical Marijuana - Going Green for Parkinson's?

Dr. Danny Bega of Northwestern University’s Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center in Chicago, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, sheds light on some of the issues and concerns surrounding the use of medicinal cannabis for people with Parkinson's. More Info

Episode 25: Meet the High School Student Who Is Changing Parkinson's Disease Diagnosis

Erin Smith of Shawnee Mission West High School adapted a real-time facial expression recognition system to detect “facial masking,” a common Parkinson’s symptom caused by stiff facial muscles. Her system, called FacePrint, analyzes facial movements and compares them to a database of people with and without Parkinson’s. More Info

Episode 24: Donate Your Brain for Parkinson's Research

Tish Hevel, founder and CEO of the Brain Donation Project, explains how to become a brain donor, as well as dispelling some misperceptions about the subject. More Info

Episode 23: Hallucinations and Delusions in Parkinson’s 

Dr. Martha Nance explains the causes of sensory misperceptions (hallucinations or illusionsA distortion of sensory perception when you misinterpret real external stimuli, such as mistaking hats on a coat rack for heads.) or false beliefs (delusions), gives examples of how people with Parkinson’s might experience them and discusses coping mechanisms and considerations for medical management. More Info

Episode 22: Do You See What I See? Hallucinations and Parkinson’s Disease 

Dr. Joseph Quinn, professor of neurology at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, discusses hallucinations and how people with PD can deal with it. More Info

Episode 21: What Other Conditions Are Related to Parkinson’s?

Dr. Connie Marras discusses Parkinson’s comorbidities (conditions you have in addition to PD), how to avoid some of them and what to know about drug interactions. More Info

Episode 20: Medical-Community Partnership for Parkinson’s Wellness

Clinical social worker Amy Lemen describes the Wellness Initiative program, what it offers, who can participate and how. More Info

Episode 19: Ask the Parkinson’s Foundation Helpline: Your Exercise Questions Answered

Jill McClure, an information specialist on with the Parkinson's Foundation Helpline, discusses exercise as medicine and her professional insights. More Info

Episode 18: Stall the Fall

Dr. Sotirios A. Parashos discusses the critical, supporting role that a medical team has in helpling live a better life. More Info

Episode 17: Stem Cells and Parkinson’s

Dr. Okun discusses the alpha-synuclein A protein in the human brain that is associated with the development of Parkinson’s. It is the main component of Lewy bodies. protein and links to the development of Parkinson's. More Info

Episode 16: Can an Asthma Drug Prevent Parkinson’s?

Dr. David K. Simon describes what the researchers did and what they found. More Info

Episode 15: Why and How to Participate in Parkinson’s Research

Christine Hunter describes the value of volunteering for clinical trials and how participants view their experiences. More Info

Episode 14: Clinical Trials for Parkinson’s

Tanya Simuni, MD, explains the clinical trials process and describes some ongoing trials, including how the potential new drugs work and why it’s important for people with Parkinson’s to participate in research. More Info

Episode 13: Generic Drugs for Parkinson’s

Dr. Rajesh Pahwa of the University of Kansas describes how generics compare to brand name products and what to look for and look out for. More Info

Episode 12: What We’ve Learned from the Hispanic Parkinson’s Community

Claudia Martinez discusses differences in the access to information across communities and her practices on providing the best possible care to the Hispanic community. More Info

Episode 11: Extending the Reach of Parkinson’s Resources and Services

Aaron Daley of the University of California, San Francisco, describes his center’s outreach efforts and what is needed to bring Parkinson’s resources to underserved and underrepresented communities. More Info

Episode 10: Young-Onset Parkinson’s 101

Elaine Book, MSW, RSW, discusses the particular challenges of YOPD like disclosure, planning for the future, and controlling the disease. More Info

Episode 9: Keys to Driving with Parkinson's

Lissa Kapust, LICSW, discusses the complications of driving while having Parkinson's and a program aimed at assessment in a variety of areas. More Info

Episode 8: A Vaccine for Parkinson's?

Mark Guttman, MD discusses the potential of using vaccines to clear abnormal forms of alpha-synuclein from the brain. More Info

Episode 7: Genetics as a Guide to Neuroprotection in Parkinson's Disease

David K. Simon, MD, PhD, explains how modern genetics can be a guide to developing new drugs for Parkinson's. More Info

Episode 6: New Levodopa Delivery Methods for Parkinson’s

More than 50 years after its discovery, levodopa is still the most effective treatment for Parkinson’s, but some people experience “off” periods or dyskinesias with oral medications. Dr. Mark Guttman describes new delivery methods that promise to help with some of these problems, especially for people who have had Parkinson’s for many years. More Info

Episode 5: How to Manage Parkinson’s “Off” Time

Parkinson’s can be unpredictable – symptoms can come and go or get better and worse throughout the day. These so-called “on-off” fluctuations (also called motor fluctuations Changes in the ability to move, often related to medication timing; also called “on-off” fluctuations.) and dyskinesias can be troubling, but movement disorder specialists can help with the choice of medication, dosages, and timing. Dr. Irene Malaty explains more about what causes these changes and how you can work with your doctor to manage them. More Info

Episode 4: The Importance of Good Nutrition for People with Parkinson’s

Nutrition is increasingly part of the conversation when it comes to good Parkinson's care. Dr. Bas Bloem describes how diet can help improve some of the symptoms of Parkinson's and optimize the effects of medication, and he offers tips on getting adequate nutrition. More Info

Episode 3: The Benefits of Exercise for People with Parkinson's

Regular exercise is essential for people with Parkinson's. Dr. Bas Bloem describes what is known about exercise and PD and what is still in the research stages, and he offers some tips on overcoming barriers to getting enough exercise. More Info

Episode 2: The Parkinson's Foundation’s Role in Improving Standards of Care

Dr. Peter Schmidt of the Parkinson’s Foundation explains where people with Parkinson’s can go to receive the best interdisciplinary care and how the Foundation is improving standards of Parkinson’s care around the world. The Foundation's Centers of Excellence network and the Parkinson's Outcomes Project are key aspects of the discussion. More Info

Episode 1: Early Warning Signs of Parkinson's

In this debut episode of Substantial Matters: Life and Science of Parkinson's, Dr. Michael Okun talks about early warning signs of Parkinson's and offers practical advice on how to proceed after a diagnosis. More Info

mail icon

Subscribe here to get the latest news on treatments, research and other updates.