The Apple Watch just got a lot better at tracking symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

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The Apple Watch will soon be able to track tremors experienced by Parkinson’s Disease patients to help them manage their condition.

Later this year, Apple will release a software update to make it easier for medical researchers to understand the difference between a random movement, and the shakes and dyskinesia that Parkinson’s patients experience when they’re getting treated with medications.

Apple made the announcement this week at its developer conference, WWDC.

The new “movement disorder API” will accelerate research that’s already underway in how wearable devices can be used to track the progression of Parkinson’s, said Peter Schmidt, a Parkinson’s researcher and vice dean of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, who has been advising Apple’s health team.

About 60,000 people are diagnosed every year with Parkinson’s in the U.S. alone and an estimated 10 million people have the disease globally. Not all of these patients will have access to an Apple Watch, or be able to afford one, but Apple is starting to work with health insurance companies like Aetna in figuring out ways to subsidize the cost.

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Source: CNBC

Cell Study Provides Hope for Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease

By Alice Melão

Deregulation of calcium levels in nerve cells has been linked to early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Now, researchers at Aarhus University have found that inhibition of a protein called SERCA can prevent calcium variations and protect nerve cells from degeneration.

This finding may open new therapeutic avenues to treat Parkinson’s motor symptoms, but also non-motor symptoms such as sleep disorders, gastrointestinal problems, anxiety, and depression.

The study, “Alpha‐synuclein aggregates activate calcium pump SERCA leading to calcium dysregulation,” was published in the journal EMBO Reports.

The team showed that in nerve cells with the same type of stress involved in Parkinson’s disease, there is a significant loss of calcium, a basic element in the body without which cells cannot function and eventually die.

The reason behind this observation seems to be the fact that in these cells, α-synuclein aggregates — protein aggregates thought to be behind Parkinson’s development — interact and activate a calcium pump known as the SERCA protein. Interestingly, this process is specific to α-synuclein clumps, as isolated molecules did not interact or activate SERCA.

To further confirm the relevance of these findings, the team analyzed samples of human brain collected from patients affected by dementia with Lewy bodies, characterized by α-synuclein aggregates. They again found the same pattern in which α-synuclein clumps interacted with SERCA and promoted calcium transport outside of the cell.

“The study indicates that the treatment of calcium disturbances is meaningful because the nerve cells are protected. This may help to prevent the disease from developing into such a disabling disease as would otherwise be the case,” Cristine Betzer, PhD, investigator at the brain research centre DANDRITE at Aarhus University and lead author of the study, said in a press release.

By inhibiting SERCA activity with a chemical compound that specifically blocks SERCA in a worm model of Parkinson’s, calcium levels became more stable and cell survival improved. Importantly, inhibition of SERCA protected nerve cells from α-synuclein aggregates’ neurotoxic stress.

“Experiments in the United States with similar models have shown that once the worms with the Parkinson’s protein have lived for eight days, their nerve cells begin to die. In our study, we treated the worms with an inhibitor against the calcium pump and then counted the nerve cells in the worms. And there were many cells left. Which is a sensational and encouraging result,” Betzer said.

Although these findings cannot be directly translated to the human disease they can open new study opportunities that may be useful for the development of new, more efficient therapies.

“Our study points towards the usefulness of treating patients throughout the whole course of the disease, as the calcium pump will otherwise continue to pump and thus contribute to the patient’s symptoms,” Betzer added. “Perhaps the protection of nerve cells can also mean that the damage caused by Parkinson’s disease in the brain does not develop as severely as it otherwise would.”

The post Cell Study Provides Hope for Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Source:: Parkinson’s Today

Pre-clinical research may slow effects of Parkinson’s

by: ABC 33/40

ABC 33/40′ spoke with two people who live with the disease about new findings from Purdue University researchers.

Published in the scientific journal Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, the researchers say they have pinpointed an important compound in the development of Parkinson’s disease in the brain.

Their work could be significant because it may impact how we treat the disease in several ways: like better therapies, new drugs and earlier diagnoses or preventative care.

Two men gave reporter Patrick Thomas a glimpse into what new treatments in their lives could do.

Whether he stands or sits, with shaky hands and trembling feet, Parkinson’s is life for Wayne Cook for the last ten years. “The things that you, used to take for granted,” Cook says as he tries to raise his left hand to his chest but can’t hold it still. “The fine motor skills are difficult.”

The same goes for Ken Cater over the last nearly 13 years of his life. “But you know it’s tough. Right now I’m dealing with a progressive disease,” says Cater.

Which Purdue University researchers say when they located the compound called Acrolein, it may lead to discoveries that alleviate symptoms of Parkinson’s. Cook tries to explain how it affects his speech. “You get something here (points to his brain) and then you know what you want to say, but it just stops right here. It won’t come out all the way.”

Cater explains what he thinks most fighting the disease want right now. Cater says, “The Holy Grail that we are looking for right now is something that can slow or stop the progression of the disease.”

Right now the research includes work that has been tested in animal models and cells, not humans.

Cook says he is even willing to be a part of any research that may eventually include human testing. “I’m anxious for it to happen. If they have got a study and they need volunteers I raise my hand,” says Cook.

But through the research, scientists say they lessened and reversed effects of Parkinson’s using the drug Hydralazine

Since it’s still only pre-clinical research Cater says he will wait and see. “I’m hopeful for a cure in the near future if not at least better treatments,” he says.

If you have questions about living with Parkinson’s as a patient or caretaker, the Parkinson Association of Alabama may be able to help.

Source: Pre-clinical research may slow or reverse effects of Parkinson’s, patients weigh in

Parkinson’s Foundation Enrolls 10,000th Patient in Largest Clinical Trial of the Disease Ever

By Carolina Henriques

The Parkinson’s Foundation has enrolled the 10,000th patient in the largest clinical trial of the disease yet to be conducted.

Among the critical discoveries so far, the research has shown that regular visits to neurologists, more exercise, and more attention to mental health could help improve patients’ wellbeing.

The Parkinson’s Outcomes Project is evaluating a broad range of factors associated with the disease, including medications, treatments, movement symptoms, cognition, anxiety and depression, and the disorder’s burden on caregivers.

Launched in 2009, the project has become a comprehensive platform for studying the lives of Parkinson’s patients. And it has led to the formation of a consortium of 29 experts in five countries.

The study includes over 100 people who have lived with Parkinson’s for more than 30 years and 83 who learned about their diagnosis before they were 30 years old. Its records include 25,000 visits to doctors and information from almost 9,000 caregivers.

Key conclusions drawn from the study include:

Regular visits to neurologists should be a priority for patients and caregivers because it could save thousands of lives a year.

Recent research has listed regular visits to a neurologist as an important step in Parkinson’s management. However, in a 2011 study, only 58 percent of 138,000 Parkinson’s-related difficulties led to neurologist care. Race was a significant demographic predictor of neurologist treatment, with non-whites being less likely to receive care.

Doctors should give patients’ physical activity more attention because studies have shown that increasing exercise and movement to at least 2 1/2 hours a week can slow the decline in patients’ quality of life.

Researchers have found that, in Parkinson’s, it’s not the type of exercise a patient engages in, but the frequency of the workout that’s important. Physical therapists recommend exercises whose goals include improving balance and coordination, flexibility, endurance, and strength.

Patient’s mental health should be a priority because researchers have found that depression and anxiety are leading factors in patients’ overall health.

Depression is one of the most common non-movement symptoms of the disease, with up to 60 percent of patients affected at one time or another.

Finally, doctors should do a better job of addressing gender differences between patients. A key reason is that many men can rely on wives and other family members for daily support and doctor visits. Women are less likely to have family caregiver support and be more frequent users of formal, paid caregiver services.

This discovery is supported by recent findings that confirm these gender disparities, such as a study in Neurology in 2017.

“We have obtained a wealth of information in what now represents the broadest and most inclusive patient population ever assembled in a clinical study of Parkinson’s,” Peter Schmidt, the senior vice president of the Parkinson’s Foundation, said in a press release. He has been directing the study.

“This project is truly innovative in that it not only follows thousands of patients over time, but that it studies everyone with Parkinson’s, from the newly diagnosed to people who have lived with the disease for 30 years or more,” added Thomas Davis, the study’s co-chair.

Researchers have been using the Parkinson’s Foundation’s Centers of Excellence network of 42 medical centers to enroll patients in the study.

In addition, “we are studying the quality of Parkinson’s care delivered at our Centers of Excellence to help patients who aren’t being seen at one,” said Fernando Cubillos, who oversees the study’s operations. “Our goal is to help identify the best care and disseminate that information widely.”

The post Parkinson’s Foundation Enrolls 10,000th Patient in Largest Clinical Trial of the Disease Ever appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Source:: Parkinson’s Today

Laser Shoes Help Prevent Parkinson’s Patients from Freezing in Place While Walking

By Carolina Henriques

Dutch researchers have developed laser shoes to help Parkinson’s patients overcome a brain disconnect that causes them to stop walking when they want to keep going.

Lasers attached to each shoe give patients a visual cue of where they need to go. Without a visual cue, the brain disconnect often leads to patients freezing in place while walking. The freezes, which can last from several seconds to several minutes, increase the chance of a patient falling.

The lasers that the Dutch team added to the tops of shoes project lines on the floor that provide patients with the visual cues they need. The lasers work in sync with each other. One projects a line until the patient takes a step along that line. Then the laser on the other shoe projects a line.

Researchers published a study on the shoes in the journal Neurology. The title of the article is “The laser-shoes – a new ambulatory device to alleviate freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease.

A debilitating symptom of Parkinson’s, freezing episodes are also dangerous. Because a patient’s foot remains on the floor while their upper body continues moving forward, it is easy for them to lose their balance and fall.

Dr. Murielle Ferraye and her colleagues at the University of Twente and Raboud University say the shoes reduced wearers’ freezing episodes by 46 percent. And when freezes did occur, the shoes cut the duration of the episodes in half.

Walking problems are most likely to occur when patients fail to take their medication on time. Not surprisingly, the researchers said the shoes provide the biggest benefit in these cases.

Parkinson’s patients can sometimes find visual cues such as street-crossing lines to help them walk. Inside their home, they can use floor tiles as cues. The laser shoes will provide them with cues all the time, indoors or out, the researchers said.

How do the visual clues work? By looking at objects on the floor, patients can activate circuits in their brain that overcome the disconnects that cause the freezing episodes.

“Our tests were administered in a controlled lab setting with and without medication,” Ferraye said in a University of Twente news story. Further research in their [patients’] everyday environment is necessary.

“Of the 19 patients who tested the shoes, the majority would be happy to use them,” she said. “The patients did not seem to mind that the laser was activated for each single step. Ideally, the laser should only be activated once the blockage is detected, but we’re not quite there yet. Freezing is a very complex phenomenon.”

The post Laser Shoes Help Prevent Parkinson’s Patients from Freezing in Place While Walking appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Source:: Parkinson’s Today

Weight Loss Linked to Worse Outcomes in Parkinson’s Patients, Study Shows

By Patricia Inacio, PhD

Weight loss in Parkinson’s disease patients increases the risks for dementia and dependency care, and reduces patients’ life expectancy, according to a new study.

These findings suggest that monitoring weight and timely dietary interventions to counteract weight loss may significantly improve the outcome of Parkinson’s disease patients.

The study, “Early weight loss in parkinsonism predicts poor outcomes: Evidence from an incident cohort study,” was published in the journal Neurology.

Researchers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland followed 515 participants – 187 with Parkinson’s disease, 88 with the so-called atypical parkinsonism, and 240 controls – for a median of five years. During this period they registered patients’ weight and evaluated how weight variations influenced disease outcomes.

Individuals with atypical parkinsonism are characterized by some of the signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease – such as tremor, slowness, and walking problems – without having a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.

“Weight loss is a common problem in Parkinson’s but it wasn’t clear before we did this how common it was, mainly because of biases in previous studies, or what the consequences were of weight loss. Our hypothesis was that people who are losing weight were going to have adverse outcomes,” Dr. Angus Macleod, the study’s lead author, said in a press release.

The results showed that patients with Parkinson’s disease and parkinsonism have, from early on, lower body weights compared to those without the disease, or controls. Further analysis also showed that weight loss occurring within one year of diagnosis was associated with a higher risk of dependency (patients are no longer able to perform daily activities), dementia, and death.

“Our finding that those who lose weight have poorer outcomes is important because reversing weight loss may therefore improve outcomes,” Macleod said. “Therefore, it is vital that further research investigate whether e.g. high calorie diets will improve outcomes in people with Parkinson’s who lose weight.”

“While other studies have demonstrated that weight loss is common in Parkinson’s, this is the first to consider the impact this symptom may have,” said Prof. David Dexter, deputy director of research at Parkinson’s UK, a charity that contributed funding for the research.

“It has yet to be determined whether this quicker progression can be corrected by supplementation with a high calorie diet, however this could be a key potential development,” Dexter added.

The post Weight Loss Linked to Worse Outcomes in Parkinson’s Patients, Study Shows appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Source:: Parkinson’s Today

It Doesn’t Matter What Exercise as Long as You’re Exercising

By Sherri Woodbridge

Several years ago, when I was diagnosed with young onset PD, it seemed the rage in beneficial exercise for people with Parkinson’s disease was bicycling. A few years later, the craze seemed to turn to dance. Now it seems as though boxing could be the in thing. As the others appear to come and go in cycles, one form of exercise that appears to remain consistent and advantageous is tai chi.

The question is, what exercise is best? I think the simple answer is whatever feels best and whatever you enjoy. None of it is bad for you and the most important thing is just to be doing something.

A real prospect exists that the physical movement involved in riding a bicycle, and in certain other forms of exercise, may alleviate the symptoms of the neurodegenerative condition we know more intimately as Parkinson’s disease.

The observation made by a research scientist from the Cleveland Clinic, in Ohio, that the physical symptoms associated with Parkinson’s appeared to improve in a personal friend who had ridden a tandem cycle. It seemed that there was a connection between forcing patients to move their legs faster than they would have otherwise been able to on their own, and because of this, there was a significant improvement in relieving symptoms.

In fact, further research from the Cleveland Clinic showed that forced exercise appeared to be more effective than drug treatment at improving symptoms in those with PD. They even went so far to suggest that forced exercise can also decrease some of the cognitive problems that can be associated with PD.

Studies have also shown that dance may be an effective alternative to traditional exercise for those with Parkinson’s disease. Staying active is crucial for those of us who have PD and dancing has been shown to lessen tremors and improve flexibility, as well as lifting mood.

“The positive effect that dancing has on us is quite magical,” says Alison Underwood, diagnosed with PD 10 years ago and now in her 60s. I don’t know about you, but I could use a little magic while living with this little monster we call Parkinson’s disease.

Boxing is definitely on the list of exercise popular among PD patients of late. Of course, it may not be the exercise of choice for everyone, but it has definitely become trendy. One such program is called Rock Steady Boxing. It is a non-contact program specifically designed for those with Parkinson’s to help strengthen motor skills, balance, speech, and sensory function.

A side benefit of getting out and getting some exercise is being around other people like us, those who struggle day-to-day with symptoms pertaining to PD. We can encourage each other to keep on keeping on.

 

Source:: Parkinson’s Today

First Drug Approved for Dyskinesia in Parkinson’s Disease

By Kristen Teesdale

Adamas Pharmaceuticals yesterday announced U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of an extended-release formulation of amantadine (GOCOVRI) to treat dyskinesia in Parkinson’s disease (PD). This is the first drug indicated specifically for dyskinesia — uncontrolled, involuntary movements that can develop with long-term levodopa use.

Extended-release amantadine is intended to be taken once daily at bedtime. In this way it can control dyskinesia during the day, when it typically is most prevalent. The new therapy’s approval is based on data from three placebo-controlled trials that demonstrated safety and efficacy. In addition to easing dyskinesia, the drug also may lessen total daily “off” time, when Parkinson’s symptoms return because medication is not working optimally.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) helped move this drug to market by supporting the creation and authentication of the Unified Dyskinesia Rating Scale, a tool that was used to measure the drug’s impact in trials.

“Dyskinesia can significantly compromise quality of life for people with Parkinson’s,” says Todd Sherer, MJFF CEO. “We are pleased that patients have another option to manage this aspect of the disease and glad the Unified Dyskinesia Rating Scale — a tool our support helped develop and validate — could show clinical efficacy of GOCOVRI for the treatment of dyskinesia.”

Extended-release amantadine is a reformulation of a currently available generic immediate-release version, which is approved to treat Parkinson’s symptoms. (Read more about this and other medications for Parkinson’s disease.)

Read more about extended-release amantadine.

Register for Fox Trial Finder to participate in dyskinesia and other studies to advance PD understandings and therapies.

Source: Fox Feed Blog

Visual system changes that may signal parkinson’s disease

Changes in the visual systems of newly diagnosed Parkinson’s disease patients may provide important biomarkers for the early detection and monitoring of the disease, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology.

“Just as the eye is a window into the body, the visual system is a window into brain disorders,” said lead researcher Alessandro Arrigo, M.D., a resident in ophthalmology at the University Vita-Salute San Raffaele of Milan, Italy.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition caused by neuronal loss in several brain structures. Parkinson’s disease is characterized by tremors, rigidity or stiffness throughout the body, and impaired balance and coordination.

“Although Parkinson’s disease is primarily considered a motor disorder, several studies have shown non-motor symptoms are common across all stages of the disease,” Dr. Arrigo said. “However, these symptoms are often undiagnosed because patients are unaware of the link to the disease and, as a result, they may be under-treated.”

Non-motor symptoms experienced by patients with Parkinson’s disease include visual alterations such as an inability to perceive colors, a change in visual acuity, and a decrease in blinking which can lead to dry eye. Read more…

Source: Science Daily

Online Survey Participants Needed: Alabama PD Patients and Caregivers

Find a Cure Panel (FACP) specializes in patient research for rare and serious diseases and they have some confidential and anonymous online research for people and caregivers with PD. If you complete the survey, FACP will donate $50 to the Parkinson’s Association of Alabama.

The completed survey is tracked anonymously off the customized link below.

To qualify for this online survey,

1)      You or your loved must have had PD for 5+ years;

2)      a) Your or your loved one must have or had experience with DBS OR b) be currently on Sinemet or Rytary or their generics.

3)      PD must have some impact on your life. If you have NO off time then you will not qualify for this research.

4)      It’s best to take the survey on a computer/ipad/tablet and NOT a smart phone.

If you are interested in participating, please click on the survey link below.

Survey link

https://www.sampleczar.com/survey/SC_RD.aspx?supplier_id=5096

If you have any questions about participating, please email FACP at info@findacurepanel.com