Taking Charge of Your Parkinson's

Saturday, April 4, 2009
10:00 AM to 03:00 PM
Hosted by PDF and the Houston Area Parkinson Society

The fourth installment of Parkinson’s Science: Innovations and New Perspectives took place on Saturday, April 4, 2009 in Houston, TX, in collaboration with the Houston Area Parkinson Society. The event explored actions - such as exercise and creative activities - that may improve daily life with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

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Learning Objectives: 

9:00 AM – 9:55 AM


9:55 AM – 10:00 AM

Opening Remarks
Anne Thobae
Executive Director, HAPS

10:00 AM – 10:50 AM

Improving Brain Function with Exercise and Creativity: You Too Can Do It
Julie H. Carter, R.N., M.S., A.N.P.
Oregon Health and Science University

10:50 AM – 11:05 AM


11:05 AM – 12:00 PM

Does Exercise Influence Parkinson's Disease?
Giselle Petzinger, M.D.
University of Southern California

12:00 PM – 12:45 PM


12:45 PM – 2:25 PM

Taking Charge of Your PD Through Music and Dance

Shall We Dance?: Benefits of Tango for People with Parkinson's Disease
Gammon M. Earhart, Ph.D., P.T.
Washington University School of Medicine

I've Got Rhythm: The Power of Rhythm and Music to Benefit Those with PD
Concetta Tomaino, D.A., MT-BC, LCAT
Beth Abraham Family of Health Services

2:25 AM – 2:55 PM

Q & A Panel

2:55 PM – 3:00 PM

Closing Remarks
Robin Elliott
Executive Director, PDF

Concetta M. Tomaino , D.A., M.T.-B.C., L.C.A.T. , Executive Director and Co-founder of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function and Senior Vice President for Music Therapy at Beth Abraham Family of Health Services, Bronx, NY

Dr. Tomaino has had a 29-year career at Beth Abraham, where she has helped to create the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function and to restore, maintain and improve people’s physical, emotional and neurologic functioning through the systematic use of music. Her clinical practice is specialized in the use of music therapy for individuals with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological diseases. Internationally known for her research in the clinical applications of music and neurologic function, she lectures
on music therapy throughout the world and has authored numerous articles.

Dr. Tomaino holds teaching positions at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Brookdale Center of Aging on Hunter College. She is also on faculty for the National Parkinson Foundation’s Allied Team Training for Parkinson’s II.

Giselle M. Petzinger , M.D. , Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology, Movement Disorders Division at the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles

The primary objective of Dr. Petzinger’s research program is to understand ways to repair a specific area of the brain called the basal ganglia, in animal models and in individuals with Parkinson’s. In collaboration with her colleagues at USC, Dr. Petzinger has demonstrated that in Parkinsonian mice, intense exercise improves normal motor movements, even though the dopamine lost because of a PD-like condition is never fully restored. These findings support the hypothesis that, in animal models, intense exercise may induce the brain
to find novel ways to compensate for the loss of dopamine neurons occurring in PD. Dr. Petzinger also studies how intense exercise may alter the release of another neurotransmitter in the brain, called glutamate.

As a clinician, Dr. Petzinger is committed to translating these animal findings to better understand humans living with PD. Therefore, in collaboration with Beth Fisher, Ph.D., P.T., in the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy at USC, she is also investigating the benefits of intensive exercise - specifically treadmill training - in people living with PD.

Dr. Petzinger received her fellowship training in Parkinson’s disease at Columbia University, under the mentorship of Stanley Fahn, M.D.

Gammon M. Earhart , P.T., Ph.D. , Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy, Anatomy and Neurobiology, and Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri

Dr. Earhart’s research interests focus on the walking and balance disorders often experienced by people with Parkinson’s disease. Her laboratory explores novel rehabilitative interventions to address these problems, including studies into how dance affects functional mobility and quality of life among people with Parkinson’s disease. Her work also includes studies on the neural control of walking direction, with an emphasis on turning during walking, and studies of how deep brain stimulation may influence balance and walking.

Dr. Earhart received a degree in Physical Therapy from Arcadia University and her Ph.D. in Movement Science from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Oregon Health and Science University.

Julie H. Carter , R.N., M.S., A.N.P. , Professor, Neurology, Oregon Health & Science University, and Associate Director, Director of Education and Outreach, Oregon Health & Science/Parkinson Center of Oregon


During her career, Ms. Carter has been dedicated to improving the lives of people and their families who have Parkinson’s disease by developing a model of family centered interdisciplinary care for the PCO and by developing many innovative patient and family programs.  She previously served as Director of Clinical Research for the PCO and Movement Disorders Program for 11 years. 

She has been the primary investigator on numerous multicenter clinical trials, with her investigator-initiated research most notable in the area of family caregiving and Parkinson’s disease.  Early in her career, she recognized how important families are in the delivery of care to people living with chronic degenerative disease.  She also recognized how stressful chronic illness is for families and how few resources were available to them at the time.  This inspired research to look at caregiver strain across stages of disease as well as predictors of caregiver strain longitudinally.  Her other clinically relevant research topics are how best to deliver the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease as well as collaborative work with Betsy Goy, Ph.D., and Linda Ganzini, M.D., M.P.H., to examine the caregivers’ perception of palliative care needs of people with Parkinson’s disease at end-of-life.

Ms. Carter received her Bachelors and Masters degrees at OHSU.

Giselle M. Petzinger
Concetta M. Tomaino

Questions? CEUs?

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Are you a health care professional seeking continuing education units? CEUs are provided via PDF’s sponsorship of the American Society on Aging. When registering for this PD ExpertBriefing, please be sure to indicate interest in CEUs. Health professionals have 30 days in which to view the live or recorded seminar and apply for CEUs. It may take an additional 30 days to process CEUs.

Other Seminars

Browse our library of past seminars and watch them at any time to learn more about nutrition, the PD pipeline and other topics.

This series has been made possible by educational grants from AbbVie, Inc., Sunovion and Lundbeck LLC.

It is designed in collaboration with Dallas Area Parkinsonism Society (DAPS); Houston Area Parkinson Society (HAPS); Michigan Parkinson Foundation (MPF); the Neuro Challenge Foundation (NCF); Parkinson Association of the Carolinas (PAC); Parkinson Association of the Rockies (PAR); Parkinson's Association (PA) and Parkinson Support Center of Kentuckiana (PSCKY).