Monthly Archives: May 2019

July 17, 2019, September 18 – Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Therapy Lunch & Learn Workshop at The Desmond.

There are 2 workshops left:  July 17 & Sept 18. To sign up for a workshop, call 518-262-0739. An answering machine will pick up the call and the recording will NOT mention Albany Med, PD, or workshops, but it’s the correct number. Leave a message about which workshop you want to attend and leave your number.

July 17, September 18
Deep Brain Stimulation Lunch and Learn
Desmond Hotel
660 Albany Shaker Road
Albany, NY 12211
(888) 448-1297
Contact: Ellie Hobson, RN, BSN – RN to Dr. Julie Pilitsis and Dr. Vishad Sukul (518) 262-0739
RSVP to (518) 262-0739 or email

The lunch is very nice (free), too!

September 26, 2019 – “Stand Up to Parkinson’s” Amateur Golf Championship

Inaugural “Stand Up to Parkinson’s Amateur Golf Championship.” Two-person better ball tournament. Field will be capped at 60 teams (120 players). Gross and net divisions. Point-eligible for Capital Region AGA point standings. $225 per golfer. Registration includes golf, tee gift, admission to post tournament cocktail party and food gathering at The Prime. Prizes awarded for each division. Proceeds to benefit Stand Up to Parkinson’s, Inc. and its efforts to find a cure for PD. at the Saratoga National Golf Club

More at

November 14, 2019 – Meeting notice

Join the CDPSG Support Group for the monthly meeting.

November 14, 2019 7:00 PM at Beverwyck

The Capital District Parkinson’s Support Group meets at 7 PM the second Thursday of most months at the Beverwyck Senior Center located at Krumkill Road, Slingerlands, New York. (Directions)

Patients, care partners, medical professionals are welcome to attend to learn more about Parkinson’s disease or obtain information

Topic : Darrin Bern, Amneal Pharmaceutical, Rytary drug rep

June 22, 2019 – Albany Med Parkinson’s Symposium at the Marriot

Albany Med Movement Disorder Center Presents

Date: Saturday, June 22

Albany Marriott, 189 Wolf Road, Albany, NY

To accommodate as many patients as possible, we ask that all reservations be limited to no more than 4 people.


9:00 am – Registration, Continental breakfast

9:30 am – Surgical Treatment update – Jennifer Durphy, MD

10:00 am – Q&A Session/Break

10:20 am – Inspirational speaker – Lory Smitka

10:50 am – Q&A Session/Break

11:10 am – Research update – Eric Molho, MD, Professor of Neurology & Riley Family Chair in Parkinson’s Disease

11:40 am – Update on community resources – Mark Burek from local community and support group.

12:10 am – Final Q&A Session

Reservations are required. To register, please call 518-264-4257 or email by June 14.

APDA Symptom Tracker Smartphone App

Everyone experiences PD differently, and symptoms can vary greatly day by day.  The more specific you can be with your health care team about the types of symptoms you’re experiencing, the better your doctor(s) can tailor a treatment plan specifically for you.  But sometimes it can be hard for people to remember how certain symptoms have or have not affected them since the last time they connected with their health care team.  Noting this challenge, APDA has developed a new mobile phone app to make it easy to keep track of symptoms frequently and more accurately and share that information with the medical professionals who are providing care.

The free APDA Symptom Tracker App guides you through a simple set of questions that allow you to rate how certain motor and non-motor symptoms are affecting you.  It then creates a simple graph to indicate which symptoms are most impacting your quality of life; that graph can be saved in the “My Library” section of the app and can also be emailed directly to members of your health care team.  Over time, you can compare the results to see if certain symptoms are getting worse and determine which symptoms need to be addressed more urgently than others. 

The APDA Symptom Tracker also has a special “Questions for the Doctor” feature that generates a list of suggested follow-up items for you to review with your doctor.  This can help your be more proactive in managing your PD.  You can bring a printout of the questions to your appointment so you don’t forget to ask any that are important to you.  The app also features a useful list of resources that connects your directly to a wealth of quality, credible PD information.

The APDA Symptom Tracker App can help you have more meaningful conversations with you healthcare team and better manage your disease. The app can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

The development of this app was made possible by generous support from Acadia Pharmaceuticals.

September 12, 2019 Meeting notice

Join the CDPSG Support Group for the monthly meeting.

September 12, 2019 7:00 PM at Beverwyck

The Capital District Parkinson’s Support Group meets at 7 PM the second Thursday of most months at the Beverwyck Senior Center located at Krumkill Road, Slingerlands, New York. (Directions)

Topic : Recognizing OFF Periods in Parkinson’s. Dr. Jennifer Durphy, Refreshments provided by INBRIJA Representative Michael Rosa

Blood Pressure Drug, Isradipine, Shows No Benefit for Parkinson’s Disease

A large-scale study of the blood pressure drug isradipine found that the drug did not show any benefit for people with Parkinson’s disease.

“Unfortunately, the people who were taking isradipine did not have any difference in their Parkinson’s symptoms over the three years of the study compared to the people who took a placebo,” said lead investigator Tanya Simuni, MD, of Northwestern University.

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Supplements Won’t Prevent Dementia. But These Steps Might.

From NY Times

There are ways people can reduce their risk of dementia. Two prestigious panels, reviewing many prevention studies, recently came up with several recommendations.

The more conservative report, from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in 2017, relied primarily on large randomized clinical trials.

There aren’t many of those, so the panel endorsed just three interventions “supported by encouraging but inconclusive evidence,” to prevent, delay or slow cognitive decline.

The three:

  • Increased physical activity;
  • Blood pressure management for people with hypertension, particularly in midlife;
  • And cognitive training.

That last recommendation doesn’t necessarily refer to commercial online brain games, said Dr. Kristine Yaffe, a neuropsychiatrist and epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who served on the panel.

“It’s really the concept of being mentally active,” she said. “Find something you enjoy where you’re learning something new, challenging and stimulating your brain.”

Though the evidence to date doesn’t establish which mental workouts have the greatest impact or how often people should engage in them, “they’re not expensive and they don’t cause side effects,” Dr. Yaffe pointed out.

The blood pressure recommendation got a boost in January with the latest findings from the Sprint trial, a multisite study stopped early in 2015 when intensive treatment of hypertension (a systolic blood pressure goal of less than 120, compared to the standard 140) was shown to reduce cardiovascular events and deaths.

The investigators continued the trial, however, with 9,361 participants who had hypertension (average age: 68) and completed follow-up cognitive assessments.

Their results, published in JAMA, showed the intensive treatment group less likely to develop dementia than those in standard treatment, though not by a statistically significant margin. Intensive treatment did, however, significantly reduce participants’ risk of mild cognitive impairment, a frequent precursor to dementia.

“To me, it was one of the most exciting findings to come along in years,” said Dr. Yaffe, who noted in an accompanying editorial that this was the first large trial to demonstrate an effective strategy for preventing age-related cognitive impairment.

“The same things we recommend for heart health turn out to be important for cognition,” she told me. “It’s a blossoming field.”

The Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention and Care also recommended hypertension treatment for the middle-aged, along with exercise, social engagement and smoking cessation, as well as management of obesity, diabetes, hearing loss and depression. Such steps could prevent or delay a third of dementia cases, the commission estimated.

When Dr. Yaffe gives talks on dementia prevention, she also mentions good sleep hygiene and urges listeners to protect themselves against brain injuries.

It’s important advice, but disappointingly undramatic. Where’s the magic bullet? Don’t we already know to stay physically and mentally active, maintain a normal weight, treat high blood pressure and so on?

Moreover, “it’s not foolproof,” Dr. Yaffe acknowledged. In the lottery of dementia, “there’s a role for genetics. There’s a role for bad luck.”

Still, she added, “The concept is important. You can do something about this. You can lower your risk.”

That’s why the most helpful approach Donna Kaye Hill uses to protect herself from dementia probably isn’t taking fish oil,

An active form of vitamin B12 can reduce the effects of dopamine loss in Parkinson’s disease caused by genetic mutations in the LRRK2 gene, a study suggests.

These finding means that this form of vitamin B12 could be used as the basis for developing new therapies for treating Parkinson’s.

The study, “Vitamin B12 modulates Parkinson’s disease LRRK2 kinase activity through allosteric regulation and confers neuroprotection,” was published in Cell Research.

Several studies have shown that overactivation of the LRRK2 enzyme, due to genetic mutations in the LRRK2 gene, is associated with the development of a hereditary form of Parkinson’s disease. But increasing evidence has suggested that this enzyme also may contribute to the progression of sporadic cases of Parkinson’s — ones caused by environmental factors.

Treatment with Intranasal Insulin May Improve Verbal Fluency and Motor Function, Early Study Shows

This pilot longitudinal study has shown that INI administration may improve functional motor skills in PD and may potentially preserve cognitive performance as compared to baseline and the placebo group. This proof-of-concept approach has shown that the use of INI in treatment of cognitive and motor impairment related to PD is safe and feasible without the risk of hypoglycemia. The lack of disease progression in the MSA case warrants further investigation. Our study provided preliminary data that suggested an improvement of functional skills after four weeks of daily INI treatment that paves the way toward a larger cohort study to evaluate long-term safety and potential efficacy of intranasal insulin administration for potential treatment and prevention of functional decline in patients with Parkinson disease.

Read more….

How Exercise Affects Our Memory

Even a single workout may make our brain’s memory centers, like our muscles, more fit. Read more at NY Times

A single, moderate workout may immediately change how our brains function and how well we recognize common names and similar information, according to a promising new study of exercise, memory and aging. The study adds to growing evidence that exercise can have rapid effects on brain function and also that these effects could accumulate and lead to long-term improvements in how our brains operate and we remember.

Until recently, scientists thought that by adulthood, human brains were relatively fixed in their structure and function, especially compared to malleable tissues, like muscle, that continually grow and shrivel in direct response to how we live our lives. But multiple, newer experiments have shown that adult brains, in fact, can be quite plastic, rewiring and reshaping themselves in various ways, depending on our lifestyles.

Exercise, for instance, is known to affect our brains. In animal experiments, exercise increases the production of neurochemicals and the numbers of newborn neurons in mature brains and improves the animals’ thinking abilities. Similarly, in people, studies show that regular exercise over time increases the volume of the hippocampus, a key part of the brain’s memory networks. It also improves many aspects of people’s thinking.

But substantial questions remain about exercise and the brain, including the time course of any changes and whether they are short-term or, with continued training, become lasting.

Read more at NY Times