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

Hallucinations might not be something you associate with Parkinson’s disease (PD), but they are a possibility in PD and can be a big problem, especially as the disease progresses. Visual hallucinations are the most common, but auditory and other sensory hallucinations also may occur. At first, it may be easy to distinguish the hallucinations from reality, but over time they can become more distressing for the person with Parkinson’s and their family, as well as a challenge for medication management. Some hallucinations are caused by medications to treat PD, so management becomes a balancing act between motor symptom control and hallucinations. Dr. Joseph Quinn, professor of neurology at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, discusses the problem and how people with PD can deal with it.

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About This Episode

Released: February 13, 2018

Joseph F. Quinn, MD

Dr. Quinn is a neurologist at Oregon Health and Science University and the Portland VA Medical Center, specializing in cognitive disorders and neurodegenerative disease.  He became director of the Northwest VA Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Care Center (PADRECC) in 2010, and director of the OHSU Parkinson’s Center in 2013. He also serves the Oregon Alzheimer’s Disease Center as Director of the Biomarker Core.

Dr. Quinn's overall research focus is on developing strategies for treating and preventing cognitive decline and dementia in individuals at risk, including patients with Parkinson’s disease. Specific research projects range from animal studies testing experimental agents in the preclinical setting, to small clinical studies using biomarkers, to large multi-center clinical trials of experimental strategies. Currently funded studies include preclinical studies of copper-modulating strategies for improving cognitive function, a clinical study of CSF microRNAs as biomarkers of neurodegenerative disease, and clinical studies of nutritional strategies for preventing cognitive decline, including omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D.    

For more insights on this topic, listen to our podcast episode “PD Medications and Side Effects”.

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