Promising New Treatments on Horizon for Parkinson's Disease

Vol. 12, No. 1
March, 2002

  • Winthrop-University Hospital Comes Out on Top of Joint Commission Accreditation of Healthcare Organization's 2001 Survey

  • Winthrop's Todd J. Cohen, MD Implants Hospital's First Patient with New Device to Treat Congestive Heart Failure

  • Winthrop-University Hospital First on L.I. to Perform Cardiac Surgery Without Stitches

  • Winthrop-University Hospital's New PET Imaging Center Opens, Offers Greater Hope to Cancer Patients

  • Winthrop-University Hospital First on Long Island to Use New Fetal Oxygen Sensor During Labor and Delivery

  • Winthrop's New Breast Imaging & Diagnostic Suite - "One Stop Shop" for Women

  • Promising New Treatments on Horizon for Parkinson's Disease

  • Winthrop-University Hospital is First in New York Metro Area to Pioneer New Communication System for Hearing-Impaired Patients

  • Winthrop Pediatricians Turn Literary for Kids

  • "Nursing Home Without Walls" Gives Elderly and Disabled Independence in Their Own Home

  • "Balloon" Technique Helps Mend Spine Fractures, Relieves Pain in Patients with Osteoporosis

  • Long Island Poison & Drug Information Center at Winthrop Stresses Prevention to Avoid Accidental Poisonings

  • Winthrop Awarded $1.1 Million Grant from New York State

  • AT&T Employees Tee Off to Help Children at Winthrop's Cancer Center for Kids

  • Citibank Gives Hope to Children at Winthrop-University Hospital's Cancer Center For Kids in Form of a $10,000 Donation

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  • Dr. Sussman carefully examines a patient's mammogram for any abnormalities.
    Michael J. Fox. Janet Reno. Muhammad Ali. These are just a few of the names of an estimated one million Americans who are living with Parkinson's Disease.

    This degenerative disorder slowly diminishes movement, muscle control, and balance due to the significant loss of the important neurotransmitter, dopamine. The loss of dopamine in the brain affects the nerves and muscles controlling movement, presenting itself in the form of tremors in the fingers and hands, a slow, shuffling walk, muscle rigidity and, in late stages, the virtual freezing of muscles.

    Promising new drugs and breakthroughs in research over the years have vastly improved the quality of life for many people living with the disease and, according to Daniel B. Rubin, MD, Ph.D., Director of the Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorder Center at Winthrop-University Hospital, there is even more hope on the horizon.

    Study of New Drug Gets Underway at Winthrop
    Winthrop's Clinical Trials Center has been selected as one of 100 sites to study a promising new investigational medication which treats the symptoms of Early Onset Parkinson's Disease. Dr. Rubin explains that this new drug, a dopamine receptor agonist (stimulates selective dopamine receptors on brain neurons), has been shown to improve mobility and has less side effects than other similar drugs currently on the market.

    While there is no known cause or cure for Parkinson's Disease, Dr. Rubin states that there are many effective treatments to slow its progression, especially when treatment begins in the early stages.

    "It is important to give hope to patients and to keep them functioning normally and independently for as long as possible," added Dr. Rubin. "The goals of treatment are to relieve disabilities, to balance the problems associated with the disease and sustain a patient's quality of life."

    Dr. Rubin is optimistic that this new investigational medication, as well as other treatments in the future, will greatly help those living with Parkinson's Disease and other related movement disorders. Linda Wittner, a patient of Dr. Rubin's who was diagnosed last year with (dopa-responsive) dystonia, a movement disorder that exhibits similar Parkinsonian symptoms and responds well to the same treatment, holds out the same hope.

    "After years of being misdiagnosed and suffering from hand tremors and severe muscle rigidity in my legs, Dr. Rubin diagnosed my problem correctly as (dopa-responsive) dystonia," said Ms. Wittner, a thirty-something mother of two. "Within 24-hours of treatment I was like a new person. I no longer walked with a limp, my tremors subsided, I had my mobility and stamina back and I could run after my kids. After so many years of feeling bad, I now have a life I thought I'd never know and so can many other people living with movement disorders."

    For information on Winthrop's Clinical Trials Center, call (516) 663-9582. For more information on Parkinson's Disease treatment and support groups, call the Institute for Neurosciences at 1-866-Neuro Rx.

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