Last week I was invited to attend a web conference “Parkinson’s Disease Check-up: What’s New, What’s Next in PD Management” where Daniel Kremens, M.D., co-director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Center and assistant professor of neurology at Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, presented facts and answered questions about PD Management to several Parkinson Disease bloggers. This “checkup” was sponsored by TEVA Pharmaceuticals – the folks who bring us Azilect.
Here are a few things I learned:
Approximately 10% of PWP (People with Parkinson’s) are diagnosed before the age of 40.
It’s important to diagnose the neurological and non-neurological symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. The most common non-motor symptoms are: 1. Reduced smell, 2. Constipation, 3. Sleep problems.
There is STILL no test or diagnostic tool for accurately diagnosing PD – we rely on observation of symptoms.
There is STILL no cure for Parkinson’s Disease….and doesn’t look like there’s going to be one on the horizon anytime soon. The MOST we can hope for is more accurate management of the disease and earlier detection and diagnosing of the disease.
Drug therapy is the main way to “manage” the disease.
Surgery is another way to “manage” the disease, i.e. Deep Brain Stimulation, Lesioning, Stem Cell transplantation (which is unreliable if you go overseas to have this done), Transplantation of genetically engineered cells (unproven results) and Infusion of growth factors (also unproven results).
In order to “manage” the disease, PWP should concentrate on improving their quality of life by taking physical therapy, gait training, occupational therapy, practicing healthy habits (diet, exercise & getting healthy sleep), and finding emotional support.
While the drug therapies mentioned in the “checkup” were still the same drug therapies we are all either using or are familiar with now, there was one fact that came out with which I was not familiar. I learned that recently Azilect was found to not only help us have dopamine but would also help in slowing down the progression of PD. I’ve not been able to track down that research study, but as soon as I do, I’ll post the particulars here on my blog.
So, really the “checkup” was informative for a Parkinson’s newbie….I’ve heard all of the facts and discouraging realities before. But I did learn a few new facts….and am not really any more hopeful for a cure or new therapies than I’ve been in the last 6 months.
If you are a new PWP or interested in more information about Parkinson’s Disease….there’s a new edition of Azilect: Moving Forward with PD booklet that’s published by TEVA. Click HERE to download this guide in pdf format.
As a side note….I am scheduled to see Dr. Jankovic in Houston in May for a complete re-evaluation and review of my meds. We’ll see what happens on that visit….and of course, as I find out more about the NEUPRO patch re-introduction in the United States, I’ll put that info on my blog as well.
Keep your sunny sides up! Remember….you’re not alone in this struggle against this evil disease! Bibmomma