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

by |

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.

CLICK TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Source: CNBC

Parkinson’s patients find balance, stamina in ‘Rock Steady’ fitness class

By Kym Klass

Jack Noble has noticed two positive changes in his body since attending the Rock Steady Boxing class at MetroFitness: his breathing, and his stamina.

The 85-year-old was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease four years ago, and in this new class brought to the east Montgomery fitness center that focuses on strength, balance and agility, Noble appreciates it for its movement and for “really feeling like I’m getting a workout.”

With more than 10 million people worldwide living with Parkinson’s disease — 60,000 Americans are diagnosed every year — exercise has been proven to help alleviate…CLICK TO READ FULL ARTICLE

Source: Montgomery Advertiser

 

Parkinson’s Choices: Playing an Active Role In Your Treatment Plan

Registration is now open for the next installment in the APDA Spotlight series, Parkinson’s Choices: Playing an Active Role In Your Treatment Plan. 

This event is scheduled for Wednesday, August 17 from 12:00 – 1:00 Central Time and will be accessible online and via conference call. The presenters will be Dr. Jaime Hatcher-Martin of Emory University School of Medicine and Dr. Harrison Walker of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Registration is free and open to the public. Please review the form below for registration instructions and additional information.

http://45.33.103.115/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/PDF_-Spotlight-on-Parkinsons-Choices.pdf

MJFF Podcast: Treating Parkinson’s Hallucinations and Delusions

By Michael J. Fox Foundation

This week’s MJFF Podcast features Dr. Rachel Dolhun and explores Parkinson’s disease psychosis, including hallucinations and delusions, and discusses treatments for this symptom.

Parkinson’s disease psychosis can affect up to 40 to 50 percent of people with the disease. It can include hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t there) and delusions (fixed, false beliefs).

To treat this symptom, doctors have used traditional anti-psychotic drugs, but those have presented challenges.

“The problem with [traditional anti-psychotic] medications is that they block the dopamine receptors or they decrease the dopamine, and as people with Parkinson’s disease know pretty well, dopamine is what’s lost in Parkinson’s,” says Rachel Dolhun, MD, vice president of medical communications at MJFF. “So if we’re blocking the dopamine that we’re trying to already replace with our [Parkinson’s] medications, we can potentially worsen the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.”

Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a drug, called Nuplazid, which was specifically designed to treat Parkinson’s psychosis without interfering with a patient’s dopamine medications.

Hear more from Dr. Dolhun about PD psychosis and Nuplazid through the Third Thursday Webinar from The Michael J Fox Foundation on May 19, 2016 at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT. Register now.

Source:: MJFF Podcasts

FDA Approves Parkinson’s Psychosis Drug

By Maggie McGuire Kuhl

The Food and Drug Administration has approved Nuplazid (the compound pimavanserin) from pharmaceutical company Acadia to treat Parkinson’s psychosis.

Psychosis — which may eventually affect more than half of people with Parkinson’s disease — can appear in a variety of ways, including hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t there) and delusions (holding false, typically paranoid, beliefs).

Read more on Parkinson’s psychosis in the MJFF “Ask the MD” blog.

“Nuplazid represents a major medical advancement for patients with Parkinson’s disease psychosis who suffer from hallucinations and delusions,” said Steve Davis, Acadia’s president and CEO. “We are grateful to the many patients and investigators who participated in Nuplazid’s clinical studies.”

Previously available psychosis medications worked on both the dopamine and serotonin systems. Parkinson’s medications for motor symptoms also work on the dopamine system, and taking antipsychotics blocked the effect of those drugs. So doctors and patients had to make a trade-off to treat either psychosis or motor symptoms.

Nuplazid, the first medication approved specifically for Parkinson’s psychosis, works only on the serotonin system. Clinical trials showed the drug eased psychosis symptoms without worsening motor symptoms.

“Parkinson’s disease psychosis is a debilitating condition that adds a tremendous burden on the lives of patients already contending with motor issues such as slow movement, loss of balance, and muscle rigidity,” said Todd Sherer, PhD, MJFF CEO. “It also places an increased burden on caregivers and can lead to loss of independence and nursing home admittance for patients. A therapy to treat the hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson’s disease psychosis without worsening motor symptoms can significantly impact the lives of Parkinson’s patients and their loved ones.”

MJFF did not fund the development of Nuplazid, though the Foundation has granted Acadia for studies into a disease-modifying therapy.

Acadia is committed to helping people with Parkinson’s access this new drug. Talk to your doctor about this therapy and visit www.nuplazid.com or call 844-737-2223 for more information.

Join the Michael J Fox Foundation on May 19 for a webinar on Parkinson’s psychosis and Nuplazid.

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

Experimental Parkinson’s Treatment uses MRI Guided Ultrasound

Interesting news out of the University of Maryland Medical Center  and the University of Maryland Medical School on an experimental treatment for Parkinson’s disease that utilizes MRI Guided Ultrasound and shows promising early results. Click this link to read more about this experimental treatment.

Click this link to read more about this experimental treatment.