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Educational Series Visits Michigan

On Friday, July 18 in Lansing, MI, the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF), and the Michigan Parkinson Foundation (MPF), co-hosted “Mind, Mood and Body: Understanding Nonmotor Symptoms of PD,” the second educational symposium and webcast in a series of four planned for 2008-2009.  More than 250 people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), caregivers and family members and health professionals gathered on site, while hundreds of others from around the world tuned in to watch from their home computers. 
 
The symposium featured presentations from national Parkinson’s experts, an interactive panel discussion with leading physicians from Michigan and a question-and-answer session.

Ronald P. Pfeiffer M.D., of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, discussed “When Parkinson’s Interferes with Gastrointestinal, Urological, Sexual and Other Functions.”  His talk covered a wide range of topics including symptoms (swallowing problems, low blood pressure, and bladder dysfunction), treatment options and coping strategies.  Next, Matthew Menza, M.D., of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, spoke on “Emotional and Cognitive Aspects of Parkinson’s Disease.”  To ease these symptoms, which include fatigue, sleep disorders, and depression, Dr. Menza discussed medications, but also encouraged the audience to exercise.  He noted that walking everyday can improve mood, quality of sleep and anxiety. 

The afternoon included a panel discussion led by Peter LeWitt, M.D., of Henry Ford Hospital.  He was joined by Drs. Pfeiffer and Menza as well as three members of MPF’s Professional Advisory Board.  Doree Ann V. Espiritu, M.D., a psychiatrist with Henry Ford Hospital, spoke of the need for people with PD to receive mental healthcare.  Edwin B. George, M.D., Ph.D., of Wayne State University School of Medicine spoke about pain in Parkinson’s and John L. Goudreau, D.O., Ph.D., of Michigan State University discussed vision problems that arise in PD.  

One attendee, Carolyn Weaver of Freeland, MI, found that the day’s events actually helped her to better understand “how nonmotor symptoms relate to my motor symptoms.  It is so important that we look at the whole picture.”

If you are interested in learning more about nonmotor symptoms, you can watch any or all of the sessions presented at “Mind, Mood, Body” on your home computer by visiting www.pdf.org/en/webcast. If you are a leader of a support group and are interested in showing the webcast to your entire group, please email webcast@pdf.org.