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Neurology Now:
doi: 10.1097/01.NNN.0000424226.20495.c0
Departments: The Waiting Room

This Way In: Navigating Life With Parkinson Disease

Valeo, Tom

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Abstract

A new title from Neurology Now™ Books

For Tina, the tremor began in her left hand when she was only 48. Then her walking became slower. Several members of Tina's family had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD), so she worried she might have it too. She was right.

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Medication improved her movement somewhat, but the disease left her less able to multitask and solve problems efficiently. By the time she was 55, Tina had to leave her job and go on disability. The extra free time allowed her to return to painting, an activity she enjoyed. Her paintings started to sell. By the time Tina was 60, the drugs no longer worked as well, and she often felt tired. But painting—an activity she could enjoy despite the challenges of her disease—gave her life meaning.

Tina's experience is covered in Navigating Life With Parkinson Disease, the latest addition to Neurology Now™ Books, produced by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).

The book describes the causes, symptoms, treatments, and complications of PD and suggests ways to manage the condition. The information provides a valuable supplement to the guidance provided by neurologists, according to Editor-in-Chief Lisa Shulman, M.D., who has been named a Fellow of the AAN in recognition of her exemplary work in the neurosciences.

“Your neurologist is the expert in your disorder, but you and your family are the experts in you,” says Dr. Shulman, a professor of neurology at the University of Maryland Medical Center and co-director of the Maryland Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center, both in Baltimore, MD. Dr. Shulman is also the recent recipient of the Parkinson's Action Network Researcher Advocacy Prize, supported by a charitable contribution from UCB, in recognition of members of the scientific community who are dedicated to advocacy. (Go to parkinsonsaction.org for more information.)

One of the important goals of Neurology Now™ Books is to view neurologic conditions through the eyes of the people who have them, according to Dr. Shulman.

Three authors teamed up to write Navigating Life With Parkinson Disease:

* Dr. Sotirios Parashos, M.D. Ph.D., head of clinical research for Struthers Parkinson's Center at Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital in Golden Valley, MN, and a member of the AAN.

* Rose Wichmann, the manager and lead physical therapist at Struthers Parkinson's Center, also in Golden Valley, MN.

* Todd Melby, a freelance journalist whose work has been featured on National Public Radio.

The book guides the reader through the basics of PD, theories about what causes it, the symptoms that appear during various stages of the disease, and available treatments, ranging from prescription medications to brain surgery.

The final chapter—which provides advice about setting up durable power of attorney, choosing health care directives, and managing other legal issues—was written by two attorneys experienced with such matters: Murray Sagsveen, former lead counsel for the AAN, and Laurie Hanson of Minneapolis, a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Special Needs Alliance, whose practice is dedicated to disability planning.

Like previous editions of Neurology Now™ Books, Navigating Life With Parkinson Disease will help you to “take your doctor with you” as you confront the challenges posed by neurologic conditions, according to Dr. Shulman. “We want you to be as prepared and confident as possible to participate with your doctors in your medical care,” she explains in her introduction. “I hope that Neurology Now™ Books will serve as an important foundation for the new skills you need to be effective in managing a neurologic condition.”

Navigating Life With Parkinson Disease is available from Oxford University Press (oup.com), Amazon.com, and through local booksellers.

©2012 American Academy of Neurology

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