The Weekly 06.21.22

This Week’s Parkinson’s News Update
Photo by Neil Soni on Unsplash
App for Voice ‘Games’ May Aid At-home Speech Therapy Practice Parkinson’s News Today

Researchers have proposed a set of voice exercise games to help speech quality in people with Parkinson’s disease, which licensed speech therapists found to be a generally feasible, promising approach. If adopted in speech therapy routines, the games could motivate patients to practice more often at the home so that their voice better retains volume and clarity, the researchers suggested. The proposed approach, “The BioVisualSpeech Serious Game with Voice Exercises for People with Parkinson’s Disease with Hypokinetic Dysarthria,” was published in Studies in Health Technology and Informatics. Speech changes, including dysarthria or difficulty speaking, are common in Parkinson’s, affecting about 89% of those with the condition. Often, patients have hypokinetic dysarthria, characterized by a reduced voice intensity, problems articulating words, a hoarse voice, and a monotonous pitch. While these speech changes can affect a person’s social and professional life, only 3% to 4% of those with such alterations take part in speech therapy to improve their ability to communicate, the researchers reported.


Gut Microbiome of Patients Favors Inflammation, Study Suggests Parkinson’s News Today

People with Parkinson’s disease appear to have a gut microbiome — the population of microorganisms living in the intestines — that is shifted toward a pro-inflammatory state, a small study suggests. Looking particularly at a pro-inflammatory gut bacterial metabolite called trimethylamine (TMA), its researchers found significantly higher levels in patients than in people without Parkinson’s. Moreover, this increase was independent of disease characteristics, treatment status, and lifestyle factors. Findings suggest that gut bacterial-derived metabolites — often, small molecules that are byproducts of metabolic reactions within cells — could serve as disease biomarkers and potential treatment targets, the scientists wrote. The study “Gut microbial metabolites in Parkinson’s disease: Association with lifestyle, disease characteristics, and treatment status” was published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease. A growing body of research supports a potential link between the gut microbiome and Parkinson’s disease. Previous studies found patients carry a distinct intestinal bacterial profile compared to age-matched individuals without the disease.


Inbrija, Inhaled Levodopa for ‘Off’ Episodes, Launches in Germany Parkinson’s News Today

Inbrija, an approved treatment for “off” episodes of Parkinson’s disease, has now been launched in Germany. The medication is being sold in Germany by Esteve Pharmaceuticals under an agreement with its developer Acorda Therapeutics. In exchange for supply of the product, Acorda will receive a significant double-digit percent of the selling price of Inbrija, in addition to additional sales-based milestones. The two companies had previously announced an agreement for Esteve to commercialize Inbrija in Spain, with an expected commercial launch early next year. Acorda also has partnered with Biopas Laboratories to market Inbrija in Latin America. “Esteve has a significant presence in Europe and an excellent track record of successfully commercializing neurological products there,” Kerry Clem, chief commercial officer at Acorda, said in a press release.


Companies Partner on Tech for Finding Best Time to Take Medication Parkinson’s News Today

Two European pharma companies have teamed up to create a technology platform that will help people with Parkinson’s disease find the best time to take their medication and make personalized adjustments to their treatment schedules. Gerresheimer AG is partnering with Finnish MedTech start-up Adamant Health Oy on new technologies that aim to help patients to determine the optimum timing for their Parkinson’s therapies. “Our common goal is to optimize the treatment of Parkinson’s and to improve the patient’s quality of life dramatically,” Dietmar Siemssen, CEO of Gerresheimer, said in a press release. “The investment is part of our strategic expansion into personalized drug delivery devices combined with platform-based and digital disease monitoring,” Siemssen said.