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The Parkinson Alliance Reports Survey Findings on Motor Symptoms in Parkinson’s Disease from the Patient’s Perspective

KINGSTON, N.J., October 21, 2020 — The Parkinson Alliance released the results of their 32nd survey-based research entitled, Revisiting Motor Symptoms in Parkinson’s Disease: Motor Symptoms and Quality of Life from the Patient’s Perspective. There were 922 individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD) who participated in this survey. Although motor symptoms are the defining diagnostic feature of PD, the impact of non-motor symptoms (e.g., sleep disturbance, cognition, mood disorders) on QOL have been in the spotlight over the past several years.  Dr. Jeffrey Wertheimer, Chief Research Consultant for The Parkinson Alliance, stated, “It is important to revisit the current patient perspectives about motor symptoms and how the motor symptoms impact factors related to quality of life.  Tremor, balance and walking problems, slowness of movement and freezing, muscle stiffness, and drug-induced dyskinesias (uncontrollable involuntary movements that are different from tremors) can have a profound impact on quality of life.”

In The Parkinson Alliance survey, 80% of the participants perceived their PD motor symptoms as disabling.  Balance problems were reported in the greatest frequency for the participants in this survey, followed by slowness of movement, drug-induced dyskinesias, stiffness, and then tremor. Over half of the participants stated that motor symptoms had a significant impact on independence in the home, day-to-day activities more generally, and participation in social and community activities.  Emotional distress was highly prevalent, with 32% and 25% experiencing moderate to severe anxiety and depression, respectively. Mental health and quality of life had a strong relationship with motor symptom severity. In fact, approximately half of the participants indicated that motor symptoms directly contributed to anxiety and depression.

Dr. Wertheimer stated, “When considering intervention for motor symptoms, it is recommended that you speak with your neurologist/movement disorders specialist to consider optimal medication management, DBS therapy, and non-medication-based intervention.”  Dr. Wertheimer added, “Research has found that exercise, yoga, Tai Chi, Health Qigong, nutrition, among other therapeutic techniques are very important in the management of motor symptoms of PD. Also, particularly during these difficult times, connecting with a mental health professional may be beneficial in addressing the relationship between motor symptoms and psychological health. Meeting with a mental health professional may assist in developing coping strategies to reduce and manage symptoms of depression and anxiety and improve perceived quality of life.”

Please visit our website to view and download the full report, which includes take-home points and general recommendations for individuals with Parkinson’s disease.

About The Parkinson Alliance
The mission of The Parkinson Alliance is to raise funds for research to end Parkinson’s disease, support the development of new therapies, and improve the quality of life for those living with the disease through patient-centered research and resources. We fund research and conduct our own – patient-centered outcomes research. We are the umbrella organization for Team Parkinson events and the Parkinson’s Unity Walk.

Carol Walton
President & CEO
The Parkinson Alliance
(800) 579-8440

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The Parkinson Alliance is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Copyright © 2020 The Parkinson Alliance. All rights reserved.