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All Posts in Category: Parkinson’s

Three People with Parkinson’s Inspired by New Talents

It may seem as though Parkinson’s disease (PD) and art cannot coexist. Engaging in art-related activities has been shown to help people with PD feel less isolated and be able to fully express themselves.

How can people diagnosed with a disease marked by limb tremors and muscle rigidity be drawn to creative pursuits that require on hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity?

Numerous studies have shown art and the disease share an intimate, if obscure, interconnection. Many clinics and adult day centers have adopted various forms of art therapy programs for people living with PD. Painting in particular is now recognized as one of the most effective art therapy programs in the world for people with Parkinson’s.

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Creative Therapy for Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in the U.S. It affects more than a million people, and that number is expected to double by 2030. For the last several years, research and testing with dopaminergic drugs has revealed a few surprises.

  • A CEO with minimal artistic experience suddenly uncovers a hidden passion for painting.
  • A sociologist is struck with the inspiration to create intricate necklaces representing the customs of different cultures from around the world.
  • A person with no flair for the written word unexpectedly publishes a book.

The real-life people living these seemingly singular situations have one surprising thing in common: Parkinson’s disease.

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Managing Fatigue With Parkinson’s

Do you or a loved one with Parkinson’s disease (PD) feel physically or mentally exhausted? This could be fatigue — a feeling of deep tiredness that has no apparent explanation, and does not improve with rest. About half of people with Parkinson’s disease report that fatigue is a major problem, and a third say it is their single most disabling symptom.

Fatigue is common early in the course of PD, but it can occur at any point and can happen whether movement symptoms are mild or severe. It is sometimes confused with other symptoms that can make a person sleepy or tired, like sleep disturbances or pain. Fatigue also is a symptom of depression, but a person can be fatigued without being depressed. Stress can make fatigue worse.

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Exercise May Help Parkinson’s Patients Avoid Falls

Parkinson’s disease patients are known to be at a higher risk of falling, due to the changes in the brain caused by the disease. A recent study found that exercise may be beneficial in preventing future falls.

Researchers found that 25% of recently-diagnosed Parkinson’s patients suffer a fall in their first year of living with the disease. The finding is a surprise because one would think falls would increase during later stages of the disease.

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Making Life Easier for a Person With Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease is progressive and symptoms may come on in stages. Difficulties increase as the disease progresses. Learning how to continually adapt not only the home environment, but also daily living processes that take into consideration a gradual decline in health and abilities should be the main focus of caregivers.

Adapting the home environment to not only deal with the challenges that Parkinson’s disease presents, but also to everyday routines easier– such eating, bathing, and dressing helps to lengthen quality of life.

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A Caregiver’s Intro to Parkinson’s Psychosis

Shaky hands, an unsteady walk, limbs that unexpectedly freeze in place; these symptoms are practically synonymous with Parkinson’s disease (PD). It is a devastating and complex disease that interferes with movement. As it progresses, it produces a wide range of other problems. The neurological condition also has a lesser known (but no less challenging) symptom called Parkinson’s disease Psychosis.

“Parkinson’s disease psychosis is a common and very disabling non-motor feature of this disease, and patients have a substantial risk of eventually having this problem,” says Richard B. Dewey Jr., MD, professor of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics and Director of the Clinical Center for Movement Disorders at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

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Start Active and Stay Active to Guard Against Dementia

An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Maybe not the devil’s, but it can give you a greater chance at developing dementia. A study published in Neurology followed almost 300 elderly people, half of whom developed dementia, for over six years. The participants reported how often they engaged in mentally stimulating situations throughout their life (i.e. extracurricular school activities, reading books, writing letters, exploring libraries, etc.). By studying the participants’ brain autopsies, scientists discovered a 14% variable in mental decline that can be attributed by the amount of their intellectual activity they participated in throughout their life.

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