NEW research opportunity


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


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.


… looking forward to hearing from you! much love.

“my life with Parkinson’s”: a neuroscientists reflections

I want to share this article I found last month in Nature, an international science journal.

It’s written by a young professor at a major research university and explores the stigma of ‘mental illness’.

He is a brain scientist with a disabling disease of the brain, Parkinson’s disease.

Does Parkinson’s affect the way he does science? Does is affect the day-to-day mechanics of experiments? Or his scientific research direction?


I’m going to leave it at that, and let the article speak for itself… READ IT HERE … I found it really insightful!

Enjoy – 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.

Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, now in Victoria BC!

Today I want to introduce an exciting Canadian-wide longitudinal research project that recently started a data collection weeks here in Victoria BC!

The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is a large, national, long-term study that will follow approximately 50,000 men and women between the ages of 45 and 85 for at least 20 years. The study will collect information on the changing biological, medical, psychological, social, lifestyle and economic aspects of people’s lives. These factors will be studied in order to understand how, individually and in combination, they have an impact in both maintaining health and in the development of disease and disability as people age. The CLSA will be one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind undertaken to date, not only in Canada but around the world.

Victoria is now one of 11 sites across Canada (see if there’s one in your area HERE!)

Research co-ordinator Vincenza Gruppuso is part of a team collecting data for a Canada-wide study on aging. Photograph by: BRUCE STOTESBURY, Times Colonist

What does participation entail?

Well, if you are 45-85 years, you may be contacted via random telephone dial. The collection assessment consists of:

  • memory and neuropsychological assessments
  • vision
  • hearing
  • electrocardiography (ECG)
  • blood pressure
  • carotid artery wall thickness
  • lung function
  • strength and physical performance
  • bone density and aortic calcification
  • blood and urine samples

… pretty comprehensive, meaning lots of potential to further understand aging and related disease processes!

Interested? Here’s more media releases related to the new Victoria data collection site

Victoria researchers, volunteers part of huge Canada-wide study on aging (Times Colonist)

Unlocking the secrets to healthy aging (Saanich News)

Chek News Video

much love!

yoga for your heart

The connection between yoga meditation and breath techniques and the ability to influence the heart rate has been known to yogis for a long time. New research is catching up and is showing yoga is good for your heart!

yoga-healthy heart!

yoga-healthy heart!

Specifically, yoga may be good for a condition called atrial fibrillation (AF). AF is an irregular heart beat where the hearts 2 upper chambers (atria) beat too fast and irregularly. This underlying problem in the hearts electrical circuit can have serious consequences, such as blood clots, stroke or heart failure.

Ongoing research at the University of Kansas Hospital, is looking at the effect of regular yoga practice on irregular heartbeat. Yoga’s ability to influence and change the autonomic nervous system may improve patients control over their heart rate than those who do not do yoga. Stressful situations and emotional moments can trigger the AF patient’s heart to beat more rapidly. Promising results are being seen as researchers are currently monitoring 49 AF episodes while on the yoga regimen vs. regular exercise routines.

Results demonstrated…

“…rigorous practice of yoga can help reduce episodes of irregular heartbeat and improve the symptoms of anxiety and depression often associated with atrial fibrillation. On average, yoga was found to cut patients’ episodes of atrial fibrillation in half and significantly improve quality of life.”

This is the first ever yoga study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and showed yoga can improve quality of life for heart patients – yay! (Lakkireddy et al. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013;():. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2012.11.060).

… this is important because 1 in 3 older adults won’t escape heart problems !

much love from my yoga-healthy heart.

p.s. Huffington Post’s heart-healthy yoga postures to help you with the sit-and-reach tests

Other sources:

Get ready for the World Parkinson Congress

In September 2010, I got on a plane and went to Scotland for the 2nd World Parkinson Congress!

First, I saw a few castles…

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh

Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh

Then had a wee dram of whisky…

Glengoyne Distillery, Dumgoyne, Killearn  Glasgow

Glengoyne Distillery, Dumgoyne, Killearn Glasgow

And presented some electromyographic data on how the muscles of males and females with Parkinson’s were more active during functional tasks (i.e. grip strength, walking, balance), indicating their muscles have to work harder and they may be more prone to fatigue than age-matched persons without Parkinson’s.

Presenting my poster, WPC Glasgow

Presenting my poster, WPC Glasgow

… and I can’t wait to do it again in October 2013 at the 3rd World Parkinson Congress in MONTREAL, CANADA!

... from Victoria BC's inner harbour!

… from Victoria BC’s inner harbour!

... from West Bay Marina in Victoria!

… from West Bay Marina in Victoria!


I’m bringing my passion for Parkinson’s research and my yoga and will SEE YOU in Montreal!

Countdown is on … much love.

Parkinson Wellness Recovery – Exercise 4 Brain Change!

Last week, I went to a talk by Becky Farley, PhD, MS, PT, sponsored by Parkinson Society BC. The topic was “EXERCISE AS MEDICINE” and she discussed some of the work she does at her Parkinson Wellness Recovery gym in Tuscon, Arizona.

About Dr. Becky Farley

Becky became involved in Parkinson’s disease during her post-doctoral work when she investigated the muscle activation deficits underlying bradykinesia in people with PD. She developed the LSVT® BIG exercise approach and standardized training to targets the PD symptoms of slow/small movements bradykinesia/hypokinesia.

About PWR!

The aim of Becky’s program is to use exercise as a physiological tool to optimize brain function (i.e. neuroplasticity) and health. Her program is based on: early intervention, continuous access and research-based exercise programs. PWR! also trains clinicians and fitness professional with techniques to focus on PD-specific exercise.

Her exercise tips:

  1. “start from a position of power!”. Your body needs to be ready, your brain needs to be focused and the task needs to feel important (or fun!) for change to occur. Make your exercise engaging!
  2. Use equipment (i.e. bungees, ropes, balance boards, harnesses) to get the experience of the full movement safely (especially in people with PD who have difficulty balancing etc.), then start to take some of those supports away as you progress and apply that experience to everyday movements!
  3. For people with PD, especially those with dyskinesias – seek exercises that gain core stability
  4. Sensory feedback – i.e. pacing, metronome, music – can help push you to exercise faster, harder and with more smooth movements
  5. Prime” your body by starting your exercise program with progressive aerobic training, then follow up with skill acquisition-type exercises.
  6. Focus not only on increasing muscle mass, but want to increase useable muscle and focus on functional movements in your exercises… not just “curls for the girls” but include things like:
  • lateral rotations, cross-body, sequential movements, extensions, quick position changes, side-to-side weight shifting)

How does exercise help brain function in Parkinson’s?

Becky also presented some of the latest research on the benefits of exercise on brain function.

Exercise can help increase brain volume, improving working memory and attention. Also, it increases blood vessels and leads to more neurotrophic (growth) factors (like “gatorade” for the brain!) and a more supportive environment for neurons. Exercise also increases the redundancy in brain synapses. Redundancy is good! If you have some synapses that aren’t working, you will have back ups to replace them!

Specifically in PD, research tells us that exercise increases survival rate, increases physical functional ability, and improves cognition! It can help “repair” the dopamine system in early/moderate stages of PD by increasing dopamine D2 receptors and helping your brain make better use of remaining dopamine.

some references of interest:

“How might physical activity benefit patients with Parkinson disease?” Speelman, Nature Reviews, 2011

“Effectiveness of intensive inpatient rehabilitation treatment on disease progression in parkinsonian patients” Giuseppe et al., Neurorehabil Neural Repair, 2012

“Does vigorous exercise have a neuroprotective effect in Parkinson disease?” Ahlskog Je, Neurology, 2011

It was a great talk, and I feel lucky to have been there and met with her. I’m also excited to hear her thoughts on how yoga can fit within this model…

Please check out her PWR website and see if there are any trained-clinician in your area! much love.