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Taking Charge of Your Parkinson's

Hosted by PDF and the Houston Area Parkinson Society
Houston, TX 
Saturday, April 4, 2009
10:00 AM to 3:00 PM


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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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


Speaker Biographies

Julie H. Carter, R.N., M.S., A.N.P.

Julie H. Carter, R.N., M.S., A.N.P., is Professor of Neurology at Oregon Health and Science University. She joined the University’s Department of Neurology in 1979 and is currently the Associate Director of the Parkinson Center
of Oregon (PCO).

Ms. Carter is dedicated to improving the lives of people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and their families. She approaches Parkinson’s disease as a family-centered disease and brings this emphasis to her practice as a nurse practitioner and to innovative program development at the PCO. She has created several educational and support initiatives for the center, including the annual family care symposium, family caregiver series, young person with PD symposium, newly-diagnosed workshop, cognitive behavioral group therapy for depression and PD and a community-based PD and pilates program. She also created the role of a family care specialist for the center.

Ms. Carter’s family-centered approach extends to her research, where she has a special interest in family caregiving and Parkinson’s. She has been an investigator for multiple clinical trials and is an original member of the Parkinson Study Group. Currently, she is the site principal investigator for the neuroprotective consortium clinical trials (NET-PD) study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Ms. Carter received her B.S.N. and M.S. from Oregon Health and Science University

Gammon M. Earhart, P.T., Ph.D.

Gammon M. Earhart, Ph.D., P.T., is Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy, Anatomy and Neurobiology, and Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. As part of the Movement Disorders Group at Washington University, she directs the Locomotor Control Laboratory within the Program in Physical Therapy.

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.

Giselle M. Petzinger, M.D.

Giselle M. Petzinger, M.D., is Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology, Movement Disorders Division at the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, where she heads a laboratory focused on basic and clinical Parkinson’s disease (PD) research.

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.

Concetta M. Tomaino D.A., MT-BC, LCAT
Concetta M. Tomaino D.A., MT-BC, LCAT, is the 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 in 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.