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26 February 2015

Levodopa-Carbidopa Intestinal Gel May Prove More Effective for Long-Term Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease than Standard Levodopa

Although levodopa remains the “gold standard” to effectively control motor deficits in the treatment of early stage Parkinson’s disease (PD), it loses effectiveness as the disease progresses. After four to six years of treatment with oral medications for Parkinson’s disease, about 40% of patients experience lack of muscle control (dyskinesias), end-of-dose wearing off, and fluctuations in “On/Off” states. By nine years of treatment, about 90% will suffer these effects.

25 February 2015

Parkinson’s Disease Patients Have Reduced Visual Contrast Acuity

Patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) often have difficulties with visual acuity in low-contrast images. Because they may have normal high-contrast vision, this is often overlooked during routine eye exams. In the current issue of the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, researchers report that PD patients had significantly worse vision for low-contrast images at close (40 cm) and far (2 m) distances. Even for high-contrast images, PD patients’ vision was deficient at far distances.

18 November 2014

Simple Clinical Tests Help Differentiate Parkinson’s Disease from Atypical Parkinsonism

Two simple tests conducted during the neurological exam can help clinicians differentiate between early-stage Parkinson’s disease (PD) and atypical parkinsonism. By asking patients to perform a tandem gait test and inquiring whether they are still able to ride a bicycle, clinicians can ascertain whether medio-lateral balance is impaired, a defining characteristic of atypical parkinsonism. These findings are published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.

11 September 2014

Few Mild-to-Moderate PD Patients Suffer from Malnutrition, Yet Almost One Third Are at Risk

Patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) can experience difficulties with food preparation and ingestion, which could contribute to poor nutrition and place them at risk for malnourishment. Published studies have also suggested that PD is associated with low weight, however, few studies included control groups. A report published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease counters this conclusion in patients with mild-to-moderate PD, finding that the incidence or risk of malnutrition is no different for patients with mild-to-moderate PD compared to healthy controls.

9 July 2014

Sleep Disturbances, Common in Parkinson’s Disease, Can Be Early Indicator of Disease Onset

Up to 70% of Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients experience sleep problems that negatively impact their quality of life. Some patients have disturbed sleep/wake patterns such as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, while other patients may be subject to sudden and involuntary daytime sleep “attacks.” In the extreme, PD patients may exhibit REM-sleep behavior disorder (RBD), characterized by vivid, violent dreams or dream re-enactment, even before motor symptoms appear. A review in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease discusses the underlying causes of sleep problems in PD, as well as medications, disease pathology, and comorbidities, and describes the most appropriate diagnostic tools and treatment options.

24 June 2014

Deep Brain Stimulation Improves Non Motor Symptoms in Parkinson’s Disease as well as Motor Symptoms

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has become a well-recognized non- pharmacologic treatment that improves motor symptoms of patients with early and advanced Parkinson’s disease. Evidence now indicates that DBS can decrease the number and severity of non motor symptoms of patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) as well, according to a review published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.

13 May 2014

Exenatide Has Potential as a Disease Modifying Agent in Parkinson’s Disease

A follow-up study of patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) who participated in an earlier “proof of concept” clinical trial using exenatide showed that improvements persisted twelve months after discontinuing exenatide therapy. These data provide strong encouragement for the further study of this drug in patients with PD, report researchers in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.

16 January 2014

New Research Suggests Changes in Parietal Brain Gray Matter Volume Associated with Memory Deficits in Early PD

Research by a team of investigators in Finland suggests that the free recall memory deficits common even in early stages Parkinson’s disease (PD) are related to structural changes in the brain, specifically parietal cortical gray matter volume. Their findings are published in the current issue of the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.

8 October 2013

New Study Links Depression in Newly Diagnosed Parkinson’s Disease Patients to Reduced Striatal Dopamine Synthesis

According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, up to 60% of individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD) exhibit mild to moderate depression, which is often underdiagnosed. It is unclear whether depression results from having a debilitating disease or reflects a parallel abnormal change in the brain caused by PD pathophysiology.

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