Mind, Mood and Parkinson’s: Headway Conference

Last month I attended Headway’s annual conference on cognitive aspects of Parkinson’s disease.

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The event was wonderfully organized and had a great lineup of speakers!

The event started with watching Jillian Carson‘s video submission on her experience with Parkinson’s that won the people’s choice award at WPC 2013 in Montreal. You can watch her video HERE

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Dr. Gheis did a great job of discussing depression and anxiety in PD. He highlighted how common those are experienced and differentiated their symptoms from those of PD.

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I was honoured to lead a guided meditation/relaxation after lunch. We had a packed room; it is always nice to meditate in a group and share that supportive energy with each other. I hope everyone enjoyed their experience and will be able to integrate some mindful time into their daily schedules.

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THANK YOU to Moksana Yoga for lending us the props, so our participants could get extra comfy and really relax.

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Dr. Henri-Bhargava and Dr. Sira finished off the day by discussing cognitive aspects of PD and how we can manage those. Headway plans to post videos of the speakers presentation on their website/in their library.

Thanks again for including me in this day and bringing attention to the oh-so-important “non-motor” aspects of Parkinson’s. much love.

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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

NEW research opportunity

Hi!

Just wanted to point out that I have a new tab… RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES.

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And, yes, that means I am off-and-running with my latest research study. SO, PLEASE check it out if you are interested in getting involved – Specifically, I’m looking for care partners of persons with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or Parkinson’s disease to fill out a questionnaire! *the 4 hours/week requirement could include basic housekeeping chores (laundry, dishes, cleaning), errands (shopping), transportation, cooking – I’m looking for people across all disease stages.

Pretty simple, and you could be doing your part to better understands unique care needs and experiences across disease groups.

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… looking forward to hearing from you! much love.

world parkinson congress, here I come!

As you read this, I’ll be landing in Montreal-Trudeau Airport after my redeye from Victoria… I’ll grab a coffee and a catnap and be ready to go!

... from Victoria BC's inner harbour!

If you’re around, stop in and see me… or send me an email, I’d love to meet up!

  • Renewal Room Wed 8-9am Yoga with Renee and myself
  • Renewal Room Wed 415-515pm Yoga with Renee and myself
  • Renewal Room Thurs 8-9am Let Your Yoga Dance (i’ll be assisting Megha!)
  • Poster Session Thurs 11:30-1:30pm #P10.07, room 220C
  • Renewal Room Thurs 5:15-6:15 Let Your Yoga Dance (i’ll be assisting Megha!)

 

I will have a full-update later next week… jusque-la, je serai a la belle ville de montreal, a bientot! beaucoup d’amour.

stem cells : recent updates on brain cell connections

this summer, some great stem cell research with implications for Parkinson’s disease came out of the Centre for Brain Research Centre at Aukland University, New Zealand.

in the brain, a slippery coating (polysiatic acid) on brain cells enable them to move easily to their destination, connect with other brain cells and turn into neurons. once they reach their target, the slippery coating is removed and the cell gets locked in place.

researchers have found that in neurodegenerative diseases, like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, there is an oversupply of insulin that blocks the process of removing the slippery coating. They are currently working on drugs that will act to increase the amount of reabsorption to help brain cells re-connect with each other. This is a clue to the decrease in brain plasticity seen in neurodegenerative diseases.

The study results were published online in July’s  ‘ahead of print’ version of The Journal of Neurochemistry. ‘Insulin and IGF1 modulate PSA-NCAM turnover in a process involving specific extracellular matrix components’, by Hector J. Monzo, Thomas I. H. Park, Birger Victor Dieriks, Deidre Jansson, Richard L. M. Faull, Mike Dragunow, Maurice A. Curtis.

some really exciting findings that will contribute to the development of possible disease modifying treatments for neurodegenerative diseases! much love.

life in the balance : summer reads

Dr Thomas Graboys was a cardiologist at Harvard Medical and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, celebrated for his rapport with patients.

At age 49 he began with battle with Parkinson’s disease and progressive Lewy Body Dementia.

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This book chronicles his diagnosis, retirement and day-to-day physical, mental and emotional struggles. His story gives a voice, not only to persons diagnosed, but to family members and friends affected by this degenerative disorder. I think people affected by Parkinson’s will resonate with and find courage and comfort in his inspiring words.

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“extract pleasure from life … much remains, and there is a life to be lived.”

He gives his own prescription for dealing with Parkinson’s. Dr Graboys would tell you, if you were his patient:

  • Be motivated by and accountable to family and friends
  • Find a safe space (friend, therapist) to unburden your thoughts
  • Accept your new reality and judge each day by the new standard set by Parkinson’s
  • Exercise your mind and your body… realize the world is bigger than your illness
  • Do something you find comfort in (God, music, running, etc.)
  • Have a plan: illness management, the things you want in life.
  • Be proactive and take control over the things you can (diet, exercise, socialize, music, movies)

I really enjoyed this book. It is written with honesty and a sense of connection to the greater Parkinson’s community. much love.

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my guest posts on contributors.healthline.com

hey … did you know healthline.com has a new site “Healthline Contributors“, showcasing persons with expertise and interest to share interesting stories or advice?

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I was asked to contribute a few pieces, and you can check out all my guest posts HERE … on topics such as;

Healthline.com also contributed a guestpost to my blog on Exercise and Parkinson’s disease, you can read it HERE. If you’re interested in writing a guest post for this blog, or want me to contribute something to your site, I’d love to hear from you! You can contact me at : kaitlyn.p.roland@gmail.com

much love.