The next meeting will be on Monday, AUGUST 28, from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m.
Dr. Jay Rao – Director, LSU Neurology
Mary Brocato – Executive Neuroscience Sales Specialist
ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. – Pimavanserin
Topic: “Parkinson’s Disease: More than motor symptoms”
Neurologist Dr. Jay Rao has practiced medicine for more than four decades, spending much of that time studying and treating Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. Medical understanding of degenerative nervous-system disorders — and treatments — have both come a long way since Dr. Rao entered the field.
“In Parkinson’s, the main problem is that a group of brain cells dies aggressively,” he explains. “These cells make a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which reinforces programs for survival and replication. When you lose those neurons, you don’t want to do anything. You can’t move quickly, think quickly or think clearly.” As LSU’s Endowed Chair for Parkinson’s Disease Research and Director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center, Dr. Rao and his team “took care of patients, did clinical research and had a basic science lab,” he says.
Dr. Rao also established the Gulf South’s first deep brain surgery program for Parkinson’s. Prior to the advent of deep brain stimulation, Parkinson’s was treated by creating lesions in the brain. “We started doing brain surgery for Parkinson’s in 1999,” Dr. Rao says.
“Then, in 2003, we started doing deep brain stimulation therapy,” Dr. Rao says. “We implant an electrode in the patient’s brain, and hook it up to a pacemaker that is implanted in the chest, just like the heart pacemaker. The pacemaker is then programmed to delivered a measured amount of electricity to special areas of the brain, and this reverses many of the problems of Parkinson’s disease patients. It’s now standard practice.” The electrode helps regulate nerve impulses within the brain, controlling tremors; its battery can last anywhere from three to five years, depending on usage. Patients also take “precursor” medications that help the brain produce more dopamine.
Because Parkinson’s disease is complex, and patients may respond differently to treatment combinations, it’s important for patients to begin working with a specialist immediately upon diagnosis. “This is a very complicated process and treatment,” Dr. Rao says. “And it’s available only from some people who specialize. What’s critical is how those patients are treated for the first two to three years.” He works with Dr. Brian Copeland, another LSU neurologist who specializes in movement disorders, to treat Parkinson’s patients.
Quality of life after Parkinson’s diagnosis has hugely improved, due to more effective treatments and disease management — and Dr. Rao is optimistic about his field’s progress. “In the ‘60s, from the time of diagnosis to death was 10 to 12 years,” he says. “Now, I have patients who live with the disease for 30 to 35 years. The first thing you need to know is: You’re not going to die of this. Parkinson’s disease is treatable.”
Dr. Rao and his team have been very active in raising public awareness of Parkinson’s disease by starting or helping to start nearly 30 Parkinson’s support groups in the states of Louisiana and Mississippi. “One of the most important things, which I’m so happy about, is that in the last 25 years, we have really prevented patients from dying from this disease,” he says. “The second important thing is that, in most patients, we’re able to give good quality of life for more than 15 years.”
The next meeting will be on Monday, July 31, 2017 from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m.
A medical panel from Ochsner will be speaking about movement disorders and deep brain stimulation.
The speakers will be:
Dominique Thomas – Ochsner’s Movement Disorder Clinic Coordinator;
Georgia Lea, MD;
David Houghton, MD; and, Colleen Knoop, DNP.
There will be time for questions.
The next meeting will be on Monday, June 26, 2017 from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m.
The meeting will focus on a “Positive Approach to Dementia Care” and how we can use the abilities that remain to support the person living with dementia.
Our presenter, AJ Cipperly, is the National Director of Memory Care and Training for Validus Senior Living.
There will also be time for questions.
Louisiana Parkinson’s Support Groups
Alexandria Meetings: 3rd Thursday @ 11am CHRISTUS St. Francis Cabrini Mediplex 3330 Masonic Drive Alexandria, LA 71301 Contact: Becky B Watkins, M.P.S., FT W-318-448-6938 C-318-730-6780 Becky. email@example.com
Baton Rouge (1) Meetings: 3rd Thursday at lpm – Bluebonnet Library Contact: Sally Palmer – 225-773-7892 or 225-756-2645 firstname.lastname@example.org
Baton Rouge (2) Mover’s & Shakers Meetings: 4th Saturday @ 10am St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 2021 Tara Blvd Website: www.moversandshakersbr.com Contact: Carol Harrison – 541-915-1188 email@example.com
Baton Rouge (3) Young Onset Group YOPD of Greater Baton Rouge Meetings: 3rd Tuesday Please Call for Location Time Contact: BJ Bement 225-315-1405 firstname.lastname@example.org
Covington/Mandeville Meetings: 1st Friday @ 1pm Lakeview Regional Medical Center Pelican Room Contact: John & Jackie Graham 985-845-0015 email@example.com
Houma/Thibodeaux By-You Side Shake, Rattle and Rollers Meetings: 2nd Wednesday @4:30pm Terrebonne Parish Main Library 2 nd Floor – DE Room Contacts: Lacy Poiencot 985-850-2354 firstname.lastname@example.org Sheena Diggs: email@example.com Courtney Lirette: Courtney.firstname.lastname@example.org
Lafayette PEPP Group Meetings: 3rd Monday @ 6pm Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital 4804 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy Contact: Patrice Williams 985-397-3648 email@example.com
Lake Charles Meetings: 3 rd Thursday @ 1:OOpm Calcasieu Central Public Library 301 Claude St. (Corner of Claude & Ernest Streets) Lake, Charles, LA 70605 Contact: Eligha Guillory, Jr. – 337-310-0083 firstname.lastname@example.org
Metairie (1) Big Easy Fleur De Lis Meetings: Last Monday @ l pm East Jefferson Hospital- Esplanade Room 1 Website: www.bigeasyfleurdelis.org Contact: Bonnie Huddleston 504-905-6355 Bonhudd4417@gmail.com
Metairie/River Ridge (2) Parkinson’s Circle of Friends Meetings: 2 nd Tuesday @ 7:00pm St. Francis Villa Assisted Living 10411 Jefferson Hwy. River Ridge, LA Contacts: Susan Sapir-Fields 504-432-0006 email@example.com Michelle Lane 504-952-6659 firstname.lastname@example.org
Monroe The Jim Altick Parkinson’s Support Group Meetings: 2nd Monday @ l1am St. Alban’s Episcopal Church 2816 Deborah Dr. – Monroe, LA Contacts: Doris Fandal 318-547-7191 Fran Downhour 318-267-8843
Morgan City No Meetings Contact: Mary Ann Adams 985-395-9949
New Orleans Meetings: 3rd Monday @ 3pm Touro Infirmary – Meeting Room Varies Contact: Stephanie Gioe, Frannie Bienvenue Or Keith Randazzo @ 504-897-8135
Ruston Meetings: 10am every 6 weeks Community Trust Bank – Community Room 115 Trenton St. – Ruston, LA Contact: Bill Attebery: 318-255-2805
Shreveport Meetings: 2nd Friday @ 1pm Willis-Knighton Eye Institute Auditorium 2611 Greenwood Road – Shreveport, LA Contact: Paula Houston 318-675-6142 email@example.com
Additional Support Group Choices now available in N.O.PARKINSON’S DISEASE CIRCLE OF FRIENDS SUPPORT GROUP—Meetings are held the 2nd of every month at 7:30 pm (Please note change of time & venue) at St. Francis Villa Assisted Living, 10411 Jefferson Hwy, River Ridge, in the dining room. For more information, contact Michelle Lane (504-952-6659) or Susan Sapir-Fields (504-432-0006).
TOURO PARKINSON’S SUPPORT GROUP meets third Monday of each month, 3- 4:30 pm. Location: Foucher Room, 2nd Floor, Touro Infirmary Validated parking is available in the Prytania and Delachaise parking garages. To register for the FREE support group or for more information, call (504) 897-8135.
Meetings: 1st Friday @ 1pm Lakeview Regional Medical Center – Pelican Room
Contact: John & Jackie Graham 985-845-0015 firstname.lastname@example.org