Sleep in Parkinson’s disease

Last week, I posted about a recent scientific understanding of WHY we need sleep (see post HERE).

There are all kinds of benefits to getting enough sleep:  It’s good for your heart, it may reduce stress, and even prevent cancer.

More importantly, sleep is good for your brain – especially working memory… the kind essential to daily function.

People with Parkinson’s have difficulty sleeping; including difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, restless legs and vivid nightmares. However, the link between sleep disorders and Parkinson’s has yet to be scientifically determined.

Peeraully et al. (Mov Disord 2012) report a higher prevalence of subjective sleepiness, increase in daytime sleepiness, rapid eye movement behaviour disorder in persons with Parkinson’s compared to controls

If you’re interested in learning more about sleep disorders in Parkinson’s, the National Parkinson Foundation and Tanya Simuni, MD have a great video about the topic… you can watch it below. Sweet dreams and much love.

For more on sleep and Parkinsons:

Michael J Fox Foundation

Mov Disord. 2012

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Kripalu Yoga, Exercise and National Parkinson Foundation Retreat

Earlier this week, I talked about my trip to Halifax, the Canadian Gerontology conference and some family visits (recap HERE). Following this, Monday morning, I got up at the crack of dawn (actually, 3:45am), drove to Halifax airport, and took a couple planes to Hartford Conneticut.

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I then got in another rental car, and pulled into Kripalu. Ahhhhh om.

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kripalu-labyrinth

 

I spent the week as part of “A Wellness Retreat for People Living with Parkinson’s disease and their Care Partners”, sponsored by the National Parkinson Foundation (their app here!). This is my THIRD time attending this retreat (see previous HERE and HERE) and I felt really honored to be able to deliver a session on how to be an informed exercise participant.

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The session talked about how we move and where this goes wrong in Parkinson’s.

When the higher brain (decision making and planning) decides to move, it sends a signal to motor cortices which send a signal to the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia determines which muscles will participate and the amplitude of their activity… like creating a “recipe” for movement.

This “recipe” gets sent to the premotor (spatial planning, trunk muscles) and supplementary motor areas (coordination of body sides, postural stabilization) and onto the spinal neurons.

Spinal neurons then activate the muscles (bundles of fibres that contract by sliding over each other and create force) … as the “recipe” dicates

So the basal ganglia plays a significant role in “modulating” movement… and this is affected in PD… showing up as weakness, rigidity, fatigue, coordination etc.

AND, the ability to express an idea is limited with Parkinson’s, since it affects the muscles of your larynx, mouth and tongue (spoken words); fingers (written words or “talking with your hands”); or skeletal muscles (body language, dancing, running, building or fighting).

So, how does exercise benefit persons with PD? Well,

(a)   intensive activity maximizes synaptic plasticity;

(b)  complex activities promote greater structural adaptation;

(c)   activities that are rewarding increase dopamine levels and therefore promote learning/relearning;

(d)  dopaminergic neurones are highly responsive to exercise and inactivity (“use it or lose it”);

(e)   where exercise is introduced at an early stage of the disease, progression can be slowed.

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It was a wonderfully full week, with a great group of 71 participants!

We “Let Your Yoga Danced” with Megha, discussed relationship and communication strategies with Kara Barton, resilience with Maria, PD 101 with Dr. David Houghton, the wisdom of yoga with Aruni and “got our yoga on” all week!

Check back next week, where I’ll discuss some specific exercise strategies I discussed in relation to PD pathology and symptoms. Much love.

a yoga/wellness retreat for parkinson’s

This past week I attended “A Wellness Retreat for People Living with Parkinson’s and Their Care Partners“. This retreat was sponsored by the National Parkinson Foundation and hosted by Kripalu, health living program.

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We attended sessions on integrating yoga and meditative practices into your life.

DSC_0312We learned about disease/symptom management, exercise, communication and care planning.

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We practiced yoga together.

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We learned how to integrate some of this knowledge and make sustainable transformation in our lives.

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And we spent as much time as we could exploring the Berkshires (which was very limited by the rain all week!).

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I was so excited to be back and assisting the faculty, thank you to Kripalu and especially NPF for making this happen for me! If you want more information, check out this link or contact NPF. much love.

p.s. read about my Kripalu experiences last year, in Living Your Yoga with Parkinson’s disease!

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Parkinson’s Apps

Last week I introduced the idea of using a smartphone to detect Parkinson’s (biomarkers, see link HERE), inspired by Max Little’s Parkinson’s voice initiative. This week I want to share some of the apps available to people with Parkinson’s disease…

Medication Tracker: You’ve got the best pill tracker available sitting right in your pocket. Download these two apps for iPhone and Android to manage your daily regime, set reminders and record dosage taken. For Android systems, we fielded this recommendation from Twitter follower, @yopd.

Puzzles: UnBlock Me (AndroidiPhone) and Hidden Object (Android) came recommended to us from our Twitter community. “As a recent PD, I use all the puzzle games I can. Hidden Object is a timed hidden object game [that I use],” shared Twitter follower Rod. UnBlock Me is a similar puzzle game where you try to move a red block out of the center of the board.

Twitter: I use this application EVERY DAY to build community, share resources, and learn what’s new in the Parkinson’s community. It can also help Parkinson’s symptoms. keeping your fingers (and brain!) moving! Follow organizations like @ParkinsonsBC@MichaelJFoxOrg, National Parkinson Foundation or ME (@kaitlyn_roland) to stay up-to-date on research news and advice, as well as engage with the Parkinson’s community.AndroidiPhone

Charity Miles: Raising money for Parkinson’s research is as easy as a walk around the block with this app. For every mile you walk, run or bike with the Charity Miles app, the charity of your choice earns money and awareness. Don’t just take our word for it, Team Fox member and Twitter user @RyansHope raved about the app. “[Charity Miles] keeps me moving which helps manage my symptoms,” he said. AndroidiPhone

Parkinson’s Toolkit (National Parkinson Foundation, Inc.): This free app helps you navigate physician visits and covers key issues you should discuss with your physician, like symptoms, planning, diagnosis, treatment options and billing information (iPhone).

PD Home Exercises: is a video app that have more than 50 exercises you can follow along to at home covering all range of movement and mobility… it also includes a metronome and vibration for cueing training! (iPhone)

Memory, notes, lists and organization: Evernote is amazing for capturing details of your day, organize items from your shopping lists to your travel itinerary. The best part? You can access your notes from any device – mobile phone, tablet or PC because the information is stored in your personal cloud. I use this all the time to store ideas, note for later, and to-do lists!

What are some of your favourite apps – that either help you organize your life, or add some fun to your day?? Please share in the comments below! Happy app-ing! much love.

sources:

http://mashable.com/2013/02/04/baby-boomer-apps/?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000008

https://www.michaeljfox.org/foundation/news-detail.php?smartphone-apps-to-help-you-manage-parkinson&utm_source=social&utm_medium=twitter&utm_content=patientprofiles&utm_campaign=smartphoneapp

http://parkinsonscureresearchfunding.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/phone-apps-to-help-manage-your-parkinsons/

living your yoga with Parkinson’s disease

I had an inspiring experience June 4-9 at a Wellness Retreat for People with Parkinson’s disease and their Care Partners at the Kripalu Centre for Yoga & Health, located in the beautiful Berkshires, Massachusetts.

the Kripalu view

A couple years ago, I did my Yoga Teacher Training through a Kripalu affiliate studio in Kelowna BC (http://www.trinityyogacenter.com/), so it felt almost like a homecoming for me to be at the Kripalu Centre.

I was at Kripalu to help with a retreat for People with Parkinson’s disease and their Care Partners. We had 57 people registered for the week! We participated in lectures held by physicians, yogis, nutritionists, nurses etc. There were also some great in-depth discussion groups, a delicious cooking-demo. Finally we had lots of opportunity to be in our bodies with yoga, tai chi and dance classes! It was a jam packed week!

Here are some things that I want to share as “take home messages” from the week…

1. lean into JOY! make decisions in order to increase the amount of joy in your life.

2. be RESILIENT. resilient people know that have control over themselves in the present moment. However, everyone needs a “choir” full of people to truly be there for you (like a circle of support). Who is in that choir for you?

3.conscious COMMUNICATION. speak and be heard, mindfully; but mostly, lean into listening. have intentional conversations.

4. caregivers should think of themselves as a SMALL BUSINESS. For example, caregivers need to have a board of directors (i.e., circle of support, choir), hold regular meetings, have a mission statement, take scheduled/regular time off to allow respite, recreation, and relaxation!

5. “what do you do to procrastinate?” honour those things that keep us back, acknowledge them, then move forward.

6. move from your CORE. whether it be your physical core (spine, abdominals), or emotional core (follow your heart!). this will keep you balanced (literally, between both feet) and help you lean into joy.

at the end of the week, participants chose ONE thing to bring home with them… “when I go home, I will…“. to sustain this change and those experienced during the week, we were encouraged to:

a) be AUTHENTIC (i.e., change needs to be true to you)

b) give yourself permission to be FULLY HUMAN (i.e. ups and downs, have self-compassion)

c) take it ONE STEP AT A TIME (i.e. doing and integrating one thing opens yourself up to other positive changes)

d) start IMMEDIATELY (i.e integrate the change right away!)

e) take it ONE DAY AT A TIME (*remember; resilient people are in control of themselves in the PRESENT moment).

Lord Ganesh, the remover of obstacles.

If you are interested in being involved in the next session you can find out more information here: http://kripalu.org/healthy_living/806/… hope to see you there!

 I’m so grateful to the National Parkinson Foundation, Kripalu, and the amazing participants for being involved in this inspiring week, uniting movement-mind-breath for wellness in persons living with Parkinson’s disease.

jai bhagwan, namaste.