Research Presented at The 36th Annual Meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society

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The Parkinson Alliance was invited to present two of their research projects at the 36th Annual Meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society (INS) in Waikoloa, Hawaii, February 6-9, 2008. INS is a multi-disciplinary non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing communication among the scientific disciplines that contribute to the understanding of brain-behavior relationships.

The two research projects that were accepted to be presented at this conference include:

1. Differential Impact of Coping Styles on Quality of Life for Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease

2. The Relationship between Sleep and Emotional Well-being in Individuals with Parkinson’s disease with and without Deep Brain StimulationIt is worth mentioning that the research project entitled, “Differential Impact of Coping Styles on Quality of Life for Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease” received special recognition. This research has been given the designation and honor of being a “Featured Poster Presentation” at this conference.

The survey write-ups for these projects can be found at: http://www.dbs-stn.org/survey.php.

For your reading interest, the abstracts that were submitted for these posters are as follows:

1. Differential Impact of Coping Styles on Quality of Life for Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease

Objective: This study examined differential coping strategies in individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD) who have and have not undergone deep brain stimulation (DBS). The relationship between coping strategies, quality of life, and certain patient variables was investigated. It was hypothesized that more active approaches to coping and/or positive attitude will result in a report of higher quality of life than those who use passive approaches and/or have a negative or pessimistic attitude.

Participants and Methods: Participants included 175 individuals with PD, 85 with DBS and 90 without DBS. A self-report, survey-based methodology was used. Instruments included a demographics questionnaire, the Coping with Health Injuries and Problems (CHIP), and the Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire-39 (PDQ-39).

Results: There were no significant differences in coping styles between the groups. The Non-DBS group reported higher levels of quality of life than the DBS group as it related to communication and mobility. The type of coping strategy had a differential impact on quality of life in individuals with PD. More active strategies, such as using distraction techniques, being problem-solving focused, and maintaining a positive attitude led to higher ratings of quality of life than those who approach coping through being emotionally pre-occupied, using a palliative approach, or maintaining a negative or pessimistic attitude. Significant gender differences were found in coping strategies and quality of life.

Conclusion: Understanding patients’ coping strategies can be instrumental in helping them improve their quality of life. Implications include using the CHIP serially and as an outcome measure to assist in helping individuals with PD adapt to their illness.

2. The Relationship between Sleep and Emotional Well-being in Individuals with Parkinson’s disease with and without Deep Brain Stimulation

Objective: Parkinson’s disease is known for its motoric disturbances, but recent research has brought greater emphasis on the non-motor symptoms of the PD patient. The goal of our research was to assess the relationship between sleep, anxiety, and depression in individuals with PD who have and have not undergone DBS.

Participants and Methods: The participants in this report included 87 individuals with DBS and 76 individuals without DBS. A mail-survey/questionnaire methodology was used. Each participant was administered the Brief Symptom Inventory-18, Parkinson’s Disease Sleep Scale and a supplemental questionnaire assessing demographics/clinical characteristics of the sample.

Results: The non-DBS group reported more somatization, anxiety, and global distress than the DBS group. Both groups reported sleep disturbances, but it was notable that the DBS group had fewer sleep disturbances than the Non-DBS group, which could potentially be accounted for by the surgical procedure minimizing, if not eliminating, fragmented sleep that previously resulted from motor disturbances. There was not a significant difference between the groups in the context of depression.

Discussion: The beneficial effects of DBS on sleep are encouraging for substantial reasons. Improving sleep is likely intimately linked to improving quality of life and decreasing emotional distress. The typical reduction of antiparkinsonian medication following DBS may beneficially affect sleep hygiene by decreasing daytime sleepiness. The current findings of this study implicate that anxiety and somatization may have a greater impact on sleep disturbance than depression, as there was not a significant difference between the groups in the context of depression.

Should you have any questions or comments about these research surveys or the INS conference, please feel free to contact us at 1-800-579-8440 or via the “Forum”  at www.dbs-stn.org.

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