NWPF

News ArchivesRead News

Parkinson's Disease Can Affect More Than Just Your Body

Wednesday December 17, 2008

RedOrbit - Parkinson’s disease affects 6.3 million people worldwide. While the disease is recognized for its profound effects on movement, up to 40 percent of Parkinson’s disease patients also develop changes in thought, behavior and judgment.

As Parkinson’s disease progresses, patients may experience what is called ‘Parkinson’s Psychosis,’ in which they experience changes in thought, behavior and judgment. In more advanced stages these symptoms include hallucinations where patients see, hear or feel things that aren’t really there, and paranoid delusions where they become distrustful of even their closest friends and family members. The emergence of these symptoms represents a major turning point in the course of the patient’s disease.

“While the physical manifestations of Parkinson’s disease are difficult to deal with, the changes in thought, behavior and judgment strain the bonds between patients and their caregivers and families,” said Dr . Bernard Ravina, Director of the Movement and Inherited Neurological Disorders Unit at the University of Rochester in New York.

According to an on-line survey recently conducted by MediciGlobal, a global patient recruitment and retention specialty firm, over one-third of Parkinson’s caregivers are unaware that changes in thought, behavior, and judgment can accompany the disease. “As a registered nurse, I was prepared for the physical problems with my husband’s Parkinson’s disease but, despite my job as a RN, I was totally unprepared for the psychiatric issues,” said Carol McLain, a caregiver who took the survey.

According to Dr. Ravina, “It’s the non-physical symptoms of the disease that are often most devastating for both the patient and caregiver. As the patient’s mental health deteriorates, the family often has to make the painful and expensive decision of moving the patient into a nursing home.”

There are currently no FDA-approved treatments for these particular non-physical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Nevertheless, doctors often resort to the use of potent antipsychotic drugs to treat these symptoms even though these drugs sometimes have serious side effects, particularly in the elderly, including worsening of motor skills, excessive sleepiness, increased infections, stroke, and sudden death in some patients. As a result, there is a large unmet medical need for new and improved treatment options.

Recent News

May 2 - What's Good For The Heart Is Good For The Brain
Apr 29 - Press Release: FDA approves first drug to treat hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson’s disease
Apr 28 - Dopamine-making neurons can be chemically controlled in animal model of Parkinson's
Apr 25 - Lifestyle: Dating with Disease
Apr 25 - Scientific breakthrough in fight against Parkinson's and Alzheimer's
Apr 20 - Breakthrough Parkinson's disease blood test
Apr 12 - Tissue biomarker for dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease
Apr 11 - Yoga for Every Body: Experts say yoga can ease pain and improve mobility for people with neurologic conditions
Apr 9 - Commonly prescribed Parkinson's drugs up risk of compulsive gambling, shopping, binge eating, hypersexuality
Apr 7 - Pfizer and IBM Launch Innovative Research Project to Transform Parkinson's Disease Care
Apr 7 - Parkinson's Drug Highly Effective for Resistant Depression
Apr 5 - Speech therapy program helps Parkinson’s patients regain speaking ability
Apr 4 - New research maps out pesticide exposure and Parkinson's disease in Nebraska
Apr 4 - The rogue immune cells that wreck the brain
Mar 28 - Chemists identify structure of protein that forms fibrils in Parkinson's patients
Mar 25 - UPDATE 1-FDA staff says Acadia's drug for Parkinson's disease psychosis is effective
Mar 23 - The virus that could cure Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and more
Mar 21 - Antipsychotic drugs may do significantly more harm to Parkinson's disease patients
Mar 21 - Rosacea Might Boost Parkinson's Risk: Study
Mar 21 - Apple CareKit Could Completely Change What It's Like To Live With Parkinson's Disease & Epilepsy