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Substantial Matters: Life & Science of Parkinson’s

Health & Wellness Podcasts

How can people with Parkinson's live a better life today? Join the Parkinson's Foundation as we highlight the treatments and techniques that can help all people affected by Parkinson’s live a better life today, as well as the research that can bring a better tomorrow.

How can people with Parkinson's live a better life today? Join the Parkinson's Foundation as we highlight the treatments and techniques that can help all people affected by Parkinson’s live a better life today, as well as the research that can bring a better tomorrow.


United States


How can people with Parkinson's live a better life today? Join the Parkinson's Foundation as we highlight the treatments and techniques that can help all people affected by Parkinson’s live a better life today, as well as the research that can bring a better tomorrow.




Nutrition Advice - Part 1

A major thrust of Parkinson’s research today is exploring potential ways to slow the progression of the disease. Exercise may be one way and is recommended. Another possible approach is nutrition, although the evidence is not as solid as for exercise. Nonetheless, there is evidence that good nutrition and dietary practices can have beneficial effects for people with Parkinson’s, including lessening digestive symptoms, as well as preserving quality of life by lowering the risk of heart...


How to Talk about Impulse Control Disorders

It is estimated that about one in six people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) taking dopaminergic medication will develop an impulse control disorder (ICD) sometime during the course of their disease. Such impulsive behaviors may include uncontrolled gambling, eating, shopping, sexual activity, or punding, a purposeless activity in which a person repetitively organizes, sorts, or collects items. ICD’s are more likely to occur in older people on dopamine agonists than in younger people. Some...


Understanding Bradykinesia and Dyskinesia

People with Parkinson’s disease (PD) may experience two seemingly contradictory movement problems. One, bradykinesia, is slowness of movement and is a cardinal symptom of the disease. For a diagnosis of PD, one must have bradykinesia plus either tremor or rigidity. Bradykinesia may appear as a reduction in automatic movements such as blinking or swinging of arms while walking, or it may manifest as trouble initiating intentional movements or just slowness of actions. The second movement...


¡EN ESPAÑOL! Acerca del Consejo para personas con Parkinson, o el ‘People with Parkinson’s Council’, de la Parkinson’s Foundation

El Consejo para personas con Parkinson, o el ‘People with Parkinson’s Council’ por sus siglas en inglés, de la Parkinson’s Foundation, es un grupo de personas que viven con la enfermedad de Parkinson, incluyendo cuidadores, que asumen el rol de asesores para la Fundación. Esto asegura que la perspectiva de las personas que viven con Parkinson se integre en el desarrollo de los proyectos, de las investigaciones y del material educativo de la Fundación. El consejo deja que la voz de las...


PD Medications and Side Effects

Adverse effects, often called side effects, are a common phenomenon that accompanies the use of many drugs, including ones used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Any treatment is a balance between the desired effects of a drug and undesirable ones, so how to best ease symptoms while making the treatment tolerable. Specific to classes of drugs used for PD, some of the side effects may be drowsiness, insomnia, light headedness, hallucinations, cognitive impairment, swelling of...


The Healing Power of Social Work

A team approach to Parkinson’s disease (PD) often results in better outcomes and quality of life for people with PD and their care partners. Members of the team have specific expertise in evaluating and fulfilling the needs of the person and family. One of those members is the social worker, and ideally, one who specializes in chronic or progressive diseases. He or she can assess how the person is functioning in their environment, their emotional state, and their needs. Once the assessment...


Understanding Neurogenic Orthostatic Hypotension

Among the many non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) are blood pressure changes. One manifestation is neurogenic orthostatic hypotension, a condition in which blood pressure drops sharply when one moves from a reclining to a more upright position, such as standing up when getting out of bed or rising from a chair. The person may feel lightheaded, dizzy, lose balance, or, rarely, even lose consciousness. Besides being uncomfortable, the condition can be dangerous if it leads to a...


Benefits of Practicing Tai Chi Chuan Exercises

Many people find that Eastern mind-body practices complement Western medicine well and produce additional benefits. One Eastern system of mind-body integration is tai chi and its martial art practice of tai chi chuan. Using continuous, flowing movements, this moving meditation addresses flexibility through stretching and involves aerobic activity and relaxation as well. Through the practice of tai chi, people can develop better awareness of movement and actions, develop better body...


Veterans Day Bonus Episode

In honor of Veteran’s day, we want to share Lou Eisenbrandt’s My PD Story about her experience as a Vietnam Veteran whose Parkinson’s disease is a result of exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange during the war. Lou is a steadfast PD advocate and has been involved with the Parkinson’s Foundation Heartland, and recently joined the Parkinson’s Foundation People with Parkinson’s Council.


Clinical Issues Behind Impulse Control Disorders

Impulse control disorders in Parkinson’s disease (PD) are more common than originally thought, affecting an estimated one in six people with PD taking dopamine agonists. They may appear as unhealthy or compulsive levels of shopping, gambling, eating, sexual activity, or involvement in hobbies. They appear to be related to dopamine replacement therapy, so finding the right level of medications can be a challenge to manage symptoms without incurring impulsivity issues. It is important that...


¡EN ESPAÑOL! La nutrición y el Parkinson

La alimentación es fundamental para las personas con Parkinson. Para asegurarnos de la fibra, vitaminas, minerales completos y necesarios para nuestros cuerpos, debemos consumir una variedad de alimentos de todos los grupos, como el grupo de los granos, de los colores (los vegetales y las frutas), de la leche (los productos lácteos), y de las proteínas. Con el Parkinson, también vemos que los medicamentos pueden causar efectos secundarios en nuestra nutrición o dieta diaria. En este...


The Newly Diagnosed Experience

When a person shows up in a doctor’s office with symptoms that may be related to Parkinson’s disease (PD), the diagnosis may not be obvious since symptoms often differ from person to person or could be indicative of other conditions. It’s not uncommon for people go from doctor to doctor over months or even years before they get a correct diagnosis. A visit to a movement disorders neurologist may result in a faster PD diagnosis, but unless PD is suspected, that may not be the first medical...


Movement Strategies: Mobility, Falls & Freezing of Gait

Movement issues are central to Parkinson’s disease (PD), even in the early stages before complications may become obvious. From the time of diagnosis and throughout the course of the disease, movement and staying physically active are essential. Both regular exercise and physical therapy can help people with PD keep moving well and for as long as possible. The Parkinson’s Outcomes Project, the largest clinical study of PD, conducted across the Parkinson’s Foundation’s Centers of Excellence...


Retention Rates in Longer Clinical Studies

Clinical studies, studies that involve people, first use healthy people to test a drug’s safety and then use people with a disease or condition to prove that the drug works as intended. They are essential for bringing any new therapy to the public. Getting U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for devices require rigorous studies, as well. Recruiting enough people to participate is often a long process, and for trials that may go on for a year or more, retaining people in the studies is...


The Skinny on Clinical Trials in PD

When people take a prescribed drug, they rarely if ever consider how it came to be. They assume it is the right drug and will work safely as it is supposed to. But leading up to that drug being available is a long process of discovery or invention of the molecule based on knowledge of the biology it is supposed to affect, then testing in the laboratory and in animals, and several phases of testing in people to make sure that it is safe and effective. Each of these steps takes time and lots...


What is Lewy Body Dementia and How Does it Relate to Parkinson’s?

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a multi-factorial condition, with the potential to affect all aspects of people’s lives. Besides the well-known motor and non-motor symptoms, it also can lead to dementia, characterized by impairment of such mental functions as cognition, memory, and judgment, leading to forgetfulness, limited social skills, and difficulties in daily functioning. The decline in mental abilities can range from mild cognitive impairment that does not affect work or daily functioning...


¡EN ESPAÑOL! El gran impacto de los líderes de la salud en la comunidad del Parkinson

A través del alcance comunitario para la comunidad del Parkinson de habla hispana, vemos que hay una gran necesidad de servicios no solo en español, sino que respondan a la cultura. También existe un gran interés en desarrollar servicios para la población con acceso limitado a estos recursos. Por esta razón, Claudia Martinez, coordinadora de alcance hispano del Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, parte del grupo de Centros de Excelencia de la Parkinson’s Foundation, realizó un entrenamiento para...


Personalized Medicine: The Voice of the Patient

Personalized medicine has garnered a lot of attention over the past decade. Usually it means determining the factors for each person that affect their health, their diseases, and potentially their treatments. Some examples are biomarkers that are found in their blood, their genetic make-up, diet and nutrition, behaviors, and environment. One example is the Parkinson’s Foundation’s PD GENEration initiative that offers free genetic testing and counseling for people with Parkinson’s disease...


Importance of Early Detection of Swallowing Disturbances

Since swallowing involves a complex and coordinated sequence of muscular movements, it is not surprising that difficulties swallowing food or liquids are common in a movement disorder such as Parkinson’s disease (PD). They can cause problems from the inconvenient to troubling, dangerous, or life threatening. Drooling is uncomfortable and can result in social isolation. Not taking in enough food to get adequate calories and nutrients may cause hunger, malnutrition, weight loss, and frailty....


¿Cuál es el siguiente paso? Cómo participar en las pruebas genéticas

La participación de hispanos en estudios genéticos es necesaria para mejorar el entendimiento de la enfermedad del Parkinson. También aseguraría que los datos de los hispanos estén representados y que esos resultados se tomen en cuenta para iniciativas de salud en caso exista diferencia entre poblaciones. Sin embargo, vemos un porcentaje muy bajo de representación de esta comunidad, debido a varias razones como la falta de información sobre cómo funcionan los estudios y acceso a los...