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Substantial Matters: Life & Science of Parkinson’s

Jun 15, 2021

When people think of Parkinson’s disease (PD), they often think of tremor, possibly because that is how the multi-talented English surgeon James Parkinson first described the disease in the early eighteenth century. In reality, tremor does not have to be present to receive a PD diagnosis. About 70% of people with PD experience this symptom sometime during the course of their disease, mainly affecting their hands and usually when the hands are at rest. Other sites of tremor are the lower lip, jaw, and leg. Obviously, tremors can interfere with daily activities, especially ones requiring fine motor control, such as shaving, dressing, writing, and various hobbies.


Several drugs can control tremor, with levodopa being one of the most effective. If levodopa alone is insufficient, it can be combined with other anti-Parkinson’s medications. Beyond drugs, various other treatments are available, including deep brain stimulation and focused ultrasound. But not to be forgotten, exercise is as important as medication, and stress management can be beneficial. In this podcast episode, movement disorders neurologist Dr. Muhammad Nashatizadeh of the University of Kansas Medical Center, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, discusses several ways to control tremor. Looking beyond today’s therapies, one of his research objectives is to identify new treatment options for debilitating movement disorders.