Parkinson's Disease, Research, Support Groups, Uncategorized, USF

More on living well with PD

I spent time last week in virtual conversation with two very interesting people who have much to say about living well with Parkinson’s disease.

One is John Baumann, a motivational speaker now living in Sarasota. He has tamed his PD with a fierce exercise routine and steely determination.

The other is Diane Cook of Denver, a leading proponent of employing self-efficacy principles in better managing PD.

The two come from different backgrounds but converge at a common point.

Baumann, who will speak to the Sun City Center support group and guests Monday April 18, boils his message down to this:

“ Whatever hand life deals you (whether your fault or not), whatever life-changing adversity you have to endure, you still have some control over it, to not just live well, but live an AMAZING LIFE. It takes faith in yourself, discipline, determination, desire, intensity, inner strength. For me, it was having Parkinson’s disease in my 30’s; I am 54 today and have very few symptoms.”

The support group invites all Parkies and caregivers to attend this special event sponsored by the South Shore Coalition for Mental Health and Aging. The meeting is 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. at Sun Towers Retirement Community 101 Trinity Lakes Dr. Sun City Center. For additional information call Debbie Caneen at 813-892-2990

A National Parkinson Foundation grant springing from money raised at last year’s Moving Day Tampa Bay walk supports his talk.

This year’s walk is Saturday at the University of South Florida Marshall Center starting at 9:00 a.m.
The event is for all ages and abilities. You will see a variety of movement activities, such as yoga, Rock Steady Boxing, dance, Pilates, Tai Chi, stretching and much more before the walk. The purpose is to celebrate the importance of movement in our lives. For more information go to:

Diane Cook’s explanation of how self-efficacy works in PD is quite similar to Baumann’s philosophy:

“Our belief in our own capacity to produce positive outcomes from our actions determines what we are able to do with the knowledge and skills we have. Our self-efficacy beliefs are more about what we think we can do with our skills than they are about what skills we have.

“Self efficacy is about having the confidence to be able to integrate our skills into a course of action and perform under a specific set of circumstances and challenges, such as managing chronic, progressive disease. Our self-belief influences our thought processes, emotional state, motivation, and patterns of behavior. It influences the challenges we undertake, the effort we expand and our perseverance in the face of difficulties.”

Cook offers a short, intriguing self-evaluation for you to take to measure how well you are managing your condition. It’s found here:

Click to access Self-Efficacy_Brochure_projectsparkorg_1.pdf

In my reading this week, the web brought me some interesting observations from Australian Ben Basger. He is a lecturer and tutor in pharmacy practice, Faculty of Pharmacy, The University of Sydney. Here they are:

”The earliest pathological evidence of PD starts in the nervous system of the gut, medulla and olfactory bulb and spreads transneuronally to the midbrain (substantia nigra) and then the cortex. This may explain why non-motor symptoms of PD, such as constipation, hyposmia (reduced ability to smell) and rapid eye-movement sleep disorder often precede the typical motor symptoms, and why cognitive impairment is nearly always found in people with longstanding PD.

”These non-motor symptoms, together with fatigue and depression, may precede diagnosis by as much as 25 years.

“Advancing PD is further complicated by the loss of non-dopaminergic neurons, contributing to disturbances of gait, posture, autonomic nervous function, speech, cognitive function and sleep that may become unresponsive to dopamine. Dopamine replacement alone becomes inadequate.

”Although PD is a progressive disorder, deterioration is typically very slow, with considerable individual variability. The time to commence drug treatment for motor symptoms is when they are causing physical or psychological disability. It is a misconception that PD treatment is only effective for a limited time and should be deferred for as long as possible to reserve that benefit.

“All dopaminergic medications can cause nausea, gastrointestinal symptoms, hypotension, drowsiness, cognitive symptoms and impulse control disorders, but these are more common with dopamine agonists (e.g. pramipexole, ropinirole) than with levodopa/dopa decarboxylase inhibitors (LD/DDIs).

“For most patients with PD, motor fluctuations and dyskinesias (abnormal movements) are not disabling and can be adequately managed by manipulating the oral drug regimen.

”The incidence of dementia increases with duration of PD. It is characterized by fluctuating cognition and visual hallucinations. Cognitive impairment affects up to 75% of people who have had PD for at least 15 years, although the main risk factor is advancing age.”


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