This April, as we observe Parkinson’s Awareness Month, Kensington Place Redwood City held an insightful event featuring two distinguished experts in Parkinson’s disease.
Tune into our latest event recording: “Breakthrough Innovations in Parkinson’s Treatment with Cedars-Sinai & UCLA” as presented by The Kensington Redwood City with guests:
- Dr. Michele Tagliati, Director of the Movement Disorders Program at Cedars-Sinai
- Dr. Jeff Bronstein, Director of Movement Disorders and Professor of Neurology at UCLA
Our esteemed guest speakers delved into groundbreaking therapies and advancements that are revolutionizing the approach to Parkinson’s care.
Parkinson’s disease—its challenges, progression, and current limitations in care
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects over 10 million people worldwide, making it the second most common brain disease after Alzheimer’s.
In the United States, there are approximately 90,000 new cases diagnosed each year, with about 1% of the population over 60 being affected by this condition.
Parkinson’s disease creates numerous challenges for seniors and their caregivers.
As the disease progresses, it can lead to a range of motor and non-motor symptoms that can impact the quality of life for both patients and their families. Symptoms can include tremors, muscle rigidity, and a weak posture and walking gait.
Non-motor symptoms can also create cognitive impairment, depression, and sleep disturbances.
Although new treatments and therapies are underway, there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s. Current therapies and medicines may have side effects or a decreased effectiveness over time, creating limitations in care.
However, innovative approaches that target the underlying cause of the disease — protein accumulations in the brain, have shown promise in slowing down the progression of the disease.
Likewise, new diagnostic tools are improving the accuracy of diagnosis to offer personalized treatment options.
New drug therapies in Parkinson’s treatment
As we continue to learn more about Parkinson’s disease, researchers and scientists are developing innovative drug therapies to address the challenges faced by patients.
Two breakthrough medications, Nourianz and Aduhelm, show promising results for improving the quality of life and symptoms caused by Parkinson’s.
Nourianz, also known as istradefylline, is an FDA-approved drug that’s used as an add-on to other common Parkinson’s drugs, such as Levodopa, which is the most common Parkinson’s medication.
Nourianz helps manage “off-time” episodes, which are the periods when Levodopa can wear off and create worsening symptoms.
However, by taking Nourianz, Parksinon’s patients can have better control over managing their symptoms.
Aduhelm, or aducanumab, is a groundbreaking new drug that was initially created for Alzheimer’s disease.
The drug works by targeting the source of Parkinson’s disease — alpha-synuclein proteins that accumulate in the brain.
Present limitations and prospects for future research
Despite the progress being made in Parkinson’s disease treatment, current therapies still have limitations and need more research and innovation. One of the most promising advancements is Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) technology.
Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) technology
DBS technology began in 1987 as a way to treat Parkinson’s disease. This technology involves surgically implanting electrodes into specific regions of the brain that are involved in motor function.
Electrodes are used to deliver electrical pulses to control tremors and other disabling motor symptoms to improve the quality of life for Parkinson’s patients.
Today, thanks to technological advances, DBS therapy can be remotely adjusted by doctors through video chat and automatic brain recordings for customized symptom control.
Using sound waves, doctors can use focused ultrasound to send high-intensity waves to target and destroy specific brain tissue in the subthalamic nucleus and globus pallidus internus, which are brain sections involved in motor function.
Gene editing and splicing
Though in its experimental phase, gene editing, and genetic splicing can be used to specifically modify or replace genes associated with Parksinson’s disease to address the direct root cause of the disease.
Stem cell therapy
Using ethically sourced stem cells, doctors use stem cell therapy to replace or heal damaged or dead dopamine-producing cells in the brain to improve brain function and motor movement.
Emerging diagnostic techniques for Parkinson’s disease
The quest for early detection and improved treatment planning for Parkinson’s disease has led to new groundbreaking diagnostic techniques that include:
Skin biopsy tests to detect alpha-synuclein
Doctors can examine skin samples to detect the presence of alpha-synuclein, the main protein that accumulates in the brain of Parkinson’s patients, in a minimally invasive way.
Blood and plasma biomarkers
Researchers are working on identifying specific biomarkers in blood, plasma, and spinal fluid that can indicate the presence of Parkinson’s disease.
Advanced neuroimaging tools
DaTscan and MRI scans are being explored to visualize and see the brain’s dopamine-producing neurons to see if they’re damaged, which can indicate greater precision and tracking of Parkinson’s disease over time.
Olfactory testing can help identify individuals who are at risk for developing Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is associated with certain genes and mutations. Through genetic testing, doctors can help identify individuals who carry these mutations to allow for close monitoring and earlier treatment if/when the symptoms start.
Kensington Place Redwood City — your partners in Parkinson’s care
Kensington Place Redwood City is dedicated to providing the highest level of care and love for our residents.
We Promise to love and care for your loved ones as we do our own.
We offer comprehensive services in two levels of memory care, including medical support, nursing care, on-site physicians, life enrichment activities, a fitness center, and all-day dining. We strive to provide a comfortable home that promotes aging in place, the ideal solution for someone with Parkinson’s disease.
Our physical therapy program for Parkinson’s patients contributes to improving seniors’ quality of life.
If you have a loved one experiencing memory loss caused by Parkinson’s disease, we invite you to contact us to schedule a tour and learn more about how we can support loved ones and families going through the journey of Parkinson’s disease, and be a resource and support system for all involved.