Podcast Episode 106: Tremors: Coping & Treatment Options

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When people think of Parkinson’s disease (PD), they often think of tremor, possibly because that is how the multi-talented English surgeon James Parkinson first described the disease in the early eighteenth century. In reality, tremor does not have to be present to receive a PD diagnosis. About 70% of people with PD experience this symptom sometime during the course of their disease, mainly affecting their hands and usually when the hands are at rest. Other sites of tremor are the lower lip, jaw, and leg. Obviously, tremors can interfere with daily activities, especially ones requiring fine motor control, such as shaving, dressing, writing, and various hobbies.

Several drugs can control tremor, with levodopa being one of the most effective. If levodopa alone is insufficient, it can be combined with other anti-Parkinson’s medications. Beyond drugs, various other treatments are available, including deep brain stimulation and focused ultrasound. But not to be forgotten, exercise is as important as medication, and stress management can be beneficial. In this podcast episode, movement disorders neurologist Dr. Muhammad Nashatizadeh of the University of Kansas Medical Center, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, discusses several ways to control tremor. Looking beyond today’s therapies, one of his research objectives is to identify new treatment options for debilitating movement disorders.

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About This Episode 

Released: June 15, 2021  

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Muhammad Nashatizadeh, MD

Dr. Muhammad Nashatizadeh was born and raised in Emporia, Kansas, and completed his undergraduate biology degree in 1998 with highest honors as a University Scholar at Emporia State University. He completed his medical degree at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 2003, internal medicine internship in Wichita in 2004, and neurology residency in Kansas City in 2007. He served as chief resident before pursuing movement disorder fellowship training at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas returning home to Kansas in 2008. He is board-certified in neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN).

Known as "Dr. Muhammad" by numerous patients, he worked as a community neurohospitalist for over six years while seeing clinic patients with movement or cognitive disorders. He returned to the University of Kansas School of Medicine as faculty in 2015 and has been the Director of Inpatient Movement Disorders since 2017. Primarily covering the inpatient consultation service, he works with emergency medicine, internal medicine, rehabilitation and surgical teams to help manage neurological problems affecting hospitalized patients. He educates geriatrics fellows, residents from neurology, internal medicine and psychiatry, and medical students to understand how medical disorders affect patients neurologically and how multiple problem layers cumulatively contribute to illness. For these efforts, he was voted as the Neurology Educator of the Year (Student Voice Award) by third year medical students for four years straight and selected as a top five finalist for the prestigious Rainbow Award in 2018-2019 honoring altruism, excellence, and professionalism.

For more insights on this topic, listen to our podcast episode “Non-pharmaceutical Treatments for PD: DBS and Focused Ultrasound."

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For all of our Substantial Matters podcast episodes, visit parkinson.org/podcast.

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