Attend a Partners in Parkinson’s Event from Your Own Home

By Allyse Falce

On May 14, Partners in Parkinson’s will broadcast a full day of educational panels online, available to view on any computer, laptop, tablet or phone.

Partners in Parkinson’s is an educational initiative developed by The Michael J. Fox Foundation and the pharmaceutical company AbbVie to connect the Parkinson’s community with information and resources to optimize one’s care. These full-day events feature sessions with clinicians, researchers, allied health care professionals and people living with Parkinson’s and their loved ones.

To date, Partners in Parkinson’s has hosted 22 in-person events in major metropolitan areas across the United States. This marks the first online event, free and open to anyone with an Internet connection.

Saturday, May 14
12 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. ET/9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. PT
Register Now

Topics of discussion will include:

  • How Parkinson’s impacts everyone differently
  • How to tailor a care team that meets your specific needs
  • What to know, ask and expect from an appointment with a movement disorder specialist
  • What is happening in Parkinson’s disease research
  • How to build a healthy and active lifestyle

Viewers will have the opportunity to submit questions to our moderator and panelists throughout the day.

Not available on May 14? This virtual program will be available later this year to watch on-demand.

For more information, or to RSVP, visit

Source:: Fox Feed Blog

U.S. Senate Recognizes April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month

By Allyse Falce

On April 20, the U.S. Senate officially recognized April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month, bringing attention to Parkinson’s disease policy priorities and the needs of patients.

The resolution was introduced by the Senate co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Parkinson’s Disease, Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA).

“Every day Parkinson’s disease greatly impacts millions of individuals in the United States who are caregivers, family members, and friends of individuals with Parkinson’s disease,” the resolution states. “Developing more effective treatments for Parkinson’s disease and providing access to quality care to individuals with Parkinson’s disease requires increased research, education, and community support services.”

“We recognize Parkinson’s Awareness Month to honor patients and their loved ones. We must continue to support medical research that can lead to breakthrough treatments and improve quality of care,” said Sen. Stabenow. “I applaud the advocates working to find a cure for this disease.”

Sen. Isakson, who announced his own Parkinson’s diagnosis last summer, said, “This Parkinson’s Awareness Month holds special meaning for me. I’m honored to have the opportunity to take action on behalf of ‎the millions impacted by this disease, of which I am one. I am proud to see this recognition of Parkinson’s disease pass the Senate. Our advocacy community is strong, and together we can continue to advance Parkinson’s research to find a cure.”

Contact your elected representatives and encourage them to support important Parkinson’s policy initiatives.

To learn more about community Parkinson’s policy priorities, visit and read our white paper on the topic.

Source:: Fox Feed Blog

Eat Your Pie Pizza and Support Parkinson’s research

Whats better than pizza?!? Your Pie Pizza that supports Parkinson’s disease research! PAA is thrilled to partner with Your Pie Birmingham this Monday, April 25 to accelerate a cure for Parkinson’s through their delicious pizza. Your Pie will generously donate 10% of it’s Monday proceeds to PAA programs that help accelerate a cure for PD and we can think of no better way to close out a Monday. Be sure mention the Parkinson’s Association of Alabama when ordering and we look forward to seeing you there.


MJFF Podcast: Parkinson’s Personalized Medicine

By Maggie McGuire Kuhl

While everyone who has Parkinson’s shares the same diagnosis, each person’s experience of the disease can vary greatly. As Michael J. Fox once observed, “Everyone gets their own version of Parkinson’s disease. Unfortunately none comes with operating guide.” But what if there were operating instructions? What if we figured out a way to treat each person’s based on their specific symptoms or disease type? It’s an approach often referred to as personalized medicine.

“Personalized medicine or precision medicine is this really compelling idea that if we can better understand not just the clinical symptoms someone has but actually their underlying disease biology, we can tailor treatments that target that underlying biology of the disease and therefore more optimally treat the patient,” said Brian Fiske, PhD, Senior Vice President of Research Programs at The Michael J. Fox Foundation.

In our latest podcast, Dr. Fiske explains how we’re moving closer to personalized medicine for Parkinson’s disease. Hear more from Dr. Fiske and other panelists on this topic in our next Third Thursdays Webinar: “Would One Parkinson’s Treatment Fit All?” on April 21, 2016 at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT. Register now.

Source:: Fox Feed Blog

Ask the MD: Parkinson’s Disease Psychosis

By Rachel Dolhun, MD

Parkinson’s disease (PD) psychosis has been in the news as pimavanserin (Nuplazid) — a novel medication to treat this non-motor symptom — nears possible Food and Drug Administration approval. (A final decision will be made no later than May 1, 2016.) Pimavanserin would be the first drug indicated for PD psychosis and could be an important step in the evolution of therapies for non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s.

PD Psychosis Comes in Varied Forms
Estimates vary — maybe because symptoms are underreported — but psychosis can eventually affect more than half of people with PD. This symptom is more common in people with a longer duration (and increased severity) of disease, cognitive impairment or dementia, and older age. Other risk factors include mood, sleep and visual (e.g., need for corrective lenses, cataracts, glaucoma) disturbances. Psychosis can appear in a variety of ways, including:

  • Hallucinations: seeing things that aren’t there
  • Delusions: holding false, typically paranoid, beliefs
  • Illusions: misinterpreting things that are there
  • False sense of presence: feeling that someone is nearby when no one is present

Hallucinations and delusions occur most often in those with Parkinson’s. Visual hallucinations usually consist of people (e.g., small children or deceased relatives) or animals; they happen in the evening (or periods of lower stimulation) and last seconds to minutes. Delusions typically center on themes of spousal infidelity or financial concerns and — despite evidence pointing otherwise — a person cannot be convinced of their falsehood. An illusion is mistaking one object for another (i.e., thinking a garden hose is a snake).

In some cases, psychosis is mild and a person knows that these experiences are not real. In others, symptoms are more severe and can considerably disrupt the lives of the person with PD, his or her caregiver, and family. PD psychosis may even contribute to the need for an alternative living situation, such as a nursing home.

Parkinson’s Disease and Drugs Can Cause Psychosis
Parkinson’s psychosis can be caused by the underlying disease and/or the medications used to treat it. As the brain chemical dopamine diminishes in Parkinson’s, many PD drugs work to temporarily replenish it. While the increased dopamine can lessen motor symptoms, it can also stimulate brain areas that lead to psychosis.

Management of Psychosis Requires a Stepwise Approach
When psychosis occurs, doctors first look for other medical illnesses — such as infections or electrolyte imbalances — that could be causing symptoms. If these aren’t present or psychosis persists after treatment, the next step is to reduce and/or remove Parkinson’s drugs. The goal of medication adjustment is to decrease psychosis without significantly worsening motor symptoms. If this cannot be done, an atypical antipsychotic agent may be added. These drugs are used for mood and thought disorders, such as schizophrenia, but they are prescribed off-label for PD psychosis. They generally work by blocking dopamine effects, though, so as they ease psychosis, they may make motor symptoms worse. Clozapine (Clozaril) is the least likely to do the latter, but low doses of quetiapine (Seroquel) are well tolerated too, so doctors typically prescribe one of these medications. Potential risks with these medications include sleepiness and, for clozapine, a decrease of infection-fighting white blood cells (which necessitates regular blood monitoring). In some situations, rivastigmine (Exelon) — which is indicated for PD dementia — is prescribed off-label for psychosis instead.

Pimavanserin Represents a Potential New Therapy for Psychosis
The approval of pimavanserin would potentially expand the somewhat limited treatment options for psychosis in Parkinson’s. Pimavanserin works on the serotonin (rather than dopamine) brain chemical system. Since this is a different mechanism than that of the presently available antipsychotic medications, it might help psychosis without aggravating motor symptoms. In short-term studies, the medication also seemed to improve nighttime sleep and daytime wakefulness while lessening the burden of psychosis on caregivers.

If pimavanserin is approved, it’s important to remember that (like every medication) it can have side effects and it isn’t right for everyone. A person who is doing well on his or her current drug regimen doesn’t necessarily have to change simply because a newer therapy comes on the market. But, for those with uncontrolled psychosis and/or intolerable side effects on current treatment, trying a different drug may be beneficial. No matter which therapy is chosen, communication about medication benefits and side effects, as well as regular assessment of the challenges psychosis poses for both the person with PD and the caregiver, must be maintained. Optimal management of each Parkinson’s symptom always requires input from every person on the care team: patient, caregiver, family members and physician.

about pimavanserin.


The “Ask the MD” series is supported by Acorda Therapeutics. While our generous sponsors make the “Ask the MD” program possible, their support does not influence MJFF’s content or perspective.

Source:: Fox Feed Blog