Parkinson's Disease, Parkinson's exercise, Research, USF

South Tampa YMCA on the PD Move and a Fine Haus(er) Party

South Tampa Y Explores PD Exercise Expansion

The South Tampa Family YMCA is sprinting towards creation of a second exercise program for people with Parkinson’s. The Y’s strong start with its cycling program has encouraged key leaders to explore more exercise programs aimed at PD.

The South Tampa Y’s stationary cycling program has exploded from 6 to 20 members in just over two months. Participant reviews are very strong and many expressed interest in additional new programs, such as the Rock Steady Boxing program in Largo. Current Hillsborough exercise programs aimed at PWP include yoga, tai chi, the Jewish Community Center’s new program and LSVT Big.

Y leaders Melissa Brockman and Nancy Belli have become enthusiasts for strenuous exercise programs for Parkies. They are urging other local YMCAs to start cycling programs. They are also talking with physical therapist Jason Kimber about the vigorous exercise program for PD that he designed. Kimber, who has relocated from South Florida to Tampa, wrote a guest blog on Shufflingeditor on February 2. Kimber has developed a program that includes elements similar to Rock Steady. Kimber’s program includes rigorous, whole body movement exercise that utilizes components of boxing, yoga, balance and strength training, as well as stretching. “Those take your body through atypical movement patterns that can help to retrain the brain,” he wrote.

Y leaders are looking for innovative program ideas. Kimber’s certainly appears to qualify. An added plus is the Y can bring it to market faster than a Rock Steady program.

USF’s Haus(er) Party

Dr. Robert Hauser and his staff at the USF Health Byrd Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders center threw one fine house party last Saturday for more than 200 persons with an interest in PD.

The day’s activities included presentations on DBS surgery, speech and language therapy, legal issues, and a physical therapy program known as LST Big.

The speakers covered ground familiar to readers of this blog. But I was intrigued with comments from Dr. Fernando Vale, a USF neurosurgeon. Among them:

• Still active USF surgeon Don Smith did the first DBS operation in the U.S. in 1993.
• 150,000 implants have been done since then.
• The 7-10 year surgery window. After an initial diagnosis it s deemed the sweet spot for DBS.
• Vale said the surgery “makes your life better but not ideal.”
• The surgery results in a reduction and the need for medications such as carbidopa-levodopa.
• There is “only a small chance that early surgery will delay progression of the disease.”
• Vail cities the next surgical step being about how to “repair damage and regenerate neurons.”

The lawyer who spoke, Jack M Rosenkranz was especially impressive about the legal safeguards Parkies should put in place. If you haven’t taken care of the estate planning guardianship and other issues, Rosenkranz would be a good one to consult.

Hauser closed the show with a wide-ranging review of current research efforts, his forte. As always, he urged his audience to volunteer in research projects.

While at heart a researcher, Hauser has been an important and public proponent of patient care initiatives and reforms.

Hauser was an early proponent and financial supporter of the Rock Steady Boxing program. He teamed with the Jewish Community center here to start their new exercise and caregiver program. He has supported my idea of a local helpline for Parkies.

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