Interview with Steven Nissen, Cleveland Clinic’s Chairman of Heart Health

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February is American Heart Health Month…

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No better time to see how vital your heart health is…

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Turns out, men need more reminders than women…

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A recent Heart Health Survey by the Cleveland Clinic says men are LESS likely to take matters into their own hands…

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Men are less likely than women to change their diet…

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Even AFTER they’ve had personal experience with heart disease.

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Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at Cleveland Clinic is here to tell us why and what else you can do to take good care of your heart.

 

  • Steven E. Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio is a cardiologist, researcher and patient advocate.

LINK TO INTERVIEW:  http://we.tl/3UYWUxcc4N

 

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Fifty-two percent (52%) have tried a diet in the past year to potentially improve their heart health but chose the wrong diet. 

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And, among individuals who either have heart disease or have family members with heart disease the number jumps to 68 percent – with women more likely than men to change their diet due to personal experience (74% vs. 62%).

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Even though we know that a diet based on processed food, super-sized fast food, frozen food, fried food and all manner of snacks and desserts is not good for us – it is difficult for many to stick to heart healthy diet. 
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Of those surveyed the biggest culprit of unhealthy eating is the convenience of vending machines and/or fast food restaurants followed by lack of time and social gatherings.
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And, among those surveyed men are more likely to be negatively impacted by the convenience of unhealthy food options.
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While most dietary plans tell you what you can’t eat (usually your favorite foods!), the most powerful nutrition strategies help you focus on what you can and should eat.
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In fact, research has shown that adding certain foods to your diet is just as important as cutting back on others.
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There are several practical and easy-to follow diet and lifestyle changes that can help significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attack as well as improve your overall health and well-being.
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·       Know your fats.  Recent research shows that trans-fats, also known as hydrogenated oils, are harmful, while monounsaturated fats particularly olive oil, appear healthy.
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Both polyunsaturated (most vegetable oils) and saturated fats (milk and meat) are neutral. The conventional advice suggesting that saturated fats, such as butter, are harmful doesn’t seem to hold up to careful scrutiny.
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·       Eat more unprocessed foods.  Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, fiber and decrease the number of desserts and sweets you eat to a few times per month.
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·       Moderation is key.  You can drink alcohol – just be sure to imbibe in moderation.
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·       Move!  Get moving and do it on a regular basis.
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·       Maintain.  Maintain or work to achieve a healthy body weight.
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·       Get cholesterol in check.  Be sure to get your cholesterol regularly.
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  • ABOUT STEVEN E. NISSEN:
    Nissen graduated high school from the Webb School of California and pursued his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan. He then went on to receive his medical degree from the University of Michigan School of Medicine in Ann Arbor. He completed his internal medicine internship and residency at the University of California, Davis in Sacramento, thereafter completed his cardiology fellowship at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington.

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  • Nissen produced the first images in humans in 1990 and began using IVUS to document the ubiquitous prevalence of coronary artery disease.Joining Cleveland Clinic in 1992, Nissen served as Vice-Chairman of the Department of Cardiology (1993–2002), Section Head of Clinical Cardiology (1992–2000) and Director of the Coronary Intensive Care Unit (1992–1997).

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  • Starting with linked COX-2 inhibitors, such as Vioxx (rofecoxib) in 2001, Nissen was one of the first physicians to link it to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.  In 2003 Nissen led a Journal of the American Medical Association study, producing evidence that five weekly infusions of ApoA-I Milano/phospholipids complex, a synthetic form of HDL, can possibly remove significant amounts of plaque from coronary arteries. A few years later, in 2005, Nissen re-analyzed the data related to the Bristol-Myers Squibb drug Pargluva (muraglitazar,), an experimental type 2 diabetes drug. In 2006, Dr. Nissen and his co-investigators reported on The ASTEROID trial (A Study to Evaluate the Effect of Rosuvastatin On Intravascular Ultrasound-Derived Coronary Atheroma Burden).
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Steven Nissen, MD, is the Chairman of the Robert and Suzanne Tomsich Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic’s Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute.

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He was appointed to this position in 2006 after serving nine years as Vice Chairman of the Department of Cardiology and five years as Medical Director of the Cleveland Clinic Cardiovascular Coordinating Center (C5), an organization that directs multicenter clinical trials.Dr. Nissen’s research during the last two decades has focused on the application of intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) imaging to study the progression and regression of coronary atherosclerosis. He has served as International Principal Investigator for several large IVUS multicenter atherosclerosis trials.

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Specialty/Clinical interests: General cardiology, intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), diabetes and the heart, drug safety, coronary intensive care

Dr. Nissen has more than 35 years of experience as a physician. He is world-renowned for his work as a cardiologist, patient advocate and researcher. Equally as significant is his pioneering work in IVUS technology and its use in patients with atherosclerosis. 

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Publications and Speaking: Dr. Nissen has written more than 350 journal articles and 60 book chapters, including many published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association. In recent years, he has also written on the subject of drug safety and was the author of manuscripts highlighting concerns about medications such as Vioxx™, Avandia™, and muraglitazar.
He has testified in both the Senate and the House of Representatives on the topic of drug safety as well as the need to reform the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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As a physician/scientist, Dr. Nissen is often called on by pharmaceutical companies to consult on the development of new therapies for cardiovascular disease. He maintains a long-standing personal policy that requires these companies to donate all related honoraria directly to charity.

Dr. Nissen is currently the editor of Current Cardiology Report.  In 2007, he was listed as Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World – Scientists and Thinkers.”

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He is heavily involved with the American College of Cardiology (ACC), serving as President from March 2006 to March 2007, a member of the ACC Executive Committee from 2004 to 2008, and spending 10 years as a member of the organization’s Board of Trustees. In addition, Dr. Nissen has served several terms on the Program Committee for the ACC Annual Scientific Sessions.

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Dr. Nissen served as a member of the CardioRenal Advisory Panel of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for five years, and as chair of the final year of his membership. He continues to serve as a periodic advisor to several FDA committees as a Special Government Employee.

Dr. Nissen frequently lectures at national and international meetings. He has served as visiting professor, or provided Grand Rounds, at nearly 100 institutions. 
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INTERVIEW with Dr. Steven Nissen http://we.tl/3UYWUxcc4N
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This interview is courtesy of Cleveland Clinic.
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mariabiancodorfner3   Maria Dorfner is the founder of NewsMD Communications and MedCrunch, a division of Healthy Within Network (HWN).
 


Hottest Health Career of the Future by Maria Dorfner

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If your kids are graduating from college wondering what to do with the rest of their lives, and they’re interested in the health field, but avoid it to make more money elsewhere, keep reading.  If not, keep reading anyway!  Thank you.

Today, “kids” are encouraged to be entrepreneurs. Start a company at the age of 3!

All before they EVEN know what to do with money (reminds me of a blog Brian Cuban wrote about why sports figures or celebs  end up broke). I think the future is going to include founders. How many “founders” are there today and where will they be in 20 years?

I understand why it’s happening.  You get fired up every time you read about a dumb idea getting millions of dollars in funding. It’s frustrating because you think your ideas are FAR BETTER.

Those articles encourage kids to quit their jobs or not attend college at all.   The unhealthy message they get is just come up with the next great thing, get funded and you’ll be fine.

Really?

Let’s peak behind-the-scenes. Some crappy idea getting millions in investments may be one college buddy who is now a VC helping another college buddy. No intention to “save the world” which a lot use as their mission statement. That buddy VC attracts others, who have no idea they are going to lose money because it was just a gift to a friend, and not a real investment in anything real. The Nancy Drew in me can spot scams before they become public.   We need a delete/block in life for folks who try to take advantage or exploit others.  Lots of snake oil salesmen out there feeding off of hungry entrepreneurs.

There’s also other little factors you can’t control. So, your idea being better means nothing.

NADA.

Additionally, even if it’s legitimate, the majority of those companies will fail. Proven fact. Even if you get funding, expect to work your you know what off for one VERY expensive lesson.

I digress.  Back to HOTTEST HEALTH CAREER of the FUTURE.

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If you REALLY want to change the world and have an interest in health –take a look at the future and where there will be ACTUAL demand.

HERE’S A GLIMPSE through my eyes.  My parents always say, “Maria has a big heart.” So, if eyes are the windows of the soul…my green peeps would be shaped like this. 

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They’re not, but thanks to the San Diego Eye Institute my vision is 20/20 to see the future:

FUTURE IN HEALTH CAREERS:

20% of all U.S. physicians are 55 or older, including more than HALF of the 5,000 active board-certified thoracic surgeons. Approximately 70% are expected to retire in the next 13 years, dramatically shrinking the provider pool leading to a critical work shortage JUST when aging baby boomers are sick and tired of stomping on grapes.   

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Most of these sick baby boomers will suffer from heart disease creating quite a demand for well-trained heart surgeons, even if that surgeon is in another room or at home while doing this robotic or digital surgery.  In real estate they say, Location, Location, Location.   When it comes to a career in health, I say it’s

DEMAND. DEMAND. DEMAND.

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By 2025, some experts predict the number will be almost 2,000 short of what’s needed in the U.S. The demand for heart surgeons will explode. They battle both heart disease AND lung cancer –another baby boomer problemo. 

Average starting salary for a heart /lung surgeon? 350K

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That’s right. Your kid makes 350K right out of college.  CA-CHING!

How long do they need to study? Residency required is 5 years followed by 2 fellowship years. You may work 50 hours a week, but you’ll do that if you’re entrepreneur too. Only you’re creating crazy things in the HOPES of creating demand.

Even if there IS a demand, you HAVE to convince friends, family or PWM (People. With. Money) you haven’t lost your marbles.  Does the product or service create the demand or vice versa?  I say when people need something it’s subconscious. When it shows up, they recognize it because the need (demand) was already there. It does NOT exist first.  I aced marketing in college with one other person. That tells me 2 out 10 people in a room understand.  The other 8 wait to “see” something first.   They lack vision.

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Now, let’s look at a man with all his marbles AND vision in tact. He is one of the best cardiothoracic surgeons in the world.   I say THE best.  His name is Delos “Toby” M. Cosgrove. I am honored to call Mr. and Mrs. Cosgrove friends. When I first met them in 2001, Toby was Chief Cardiothoracic Surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic.

Today, he is Chairman. Under his leadership, the Cleveland Clinic’s heart program is consistently ranked NUMERO UNO. He presides over the $6B healthcare system that is The Cleveland Clinic. Calling him an innovator is also an understatement. He holds 30 patents and is absolutely brilliant.

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I spoke with Toby about what it takes to be a resident at the #1 heart program and will share that later.

I followed him and went behind-the-scenes as he interviewed the best and brightest students to be selected for a residency at The Cleveland Clinic. Since it’s ranked #1, it attracts the smartest students from around the world. Interestingly enough, there was only one woman in the group. In general, 66% of physicians are male. Only 29% are female. Another shortage and demand for the future.

Tie this with the current obesity epidemic, a leading cause of heart disease.

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Most recently, Cosgrove warned people about the link between heart disease connected to the foods you eat. You know when a man who would profit from your heart disease issues a warning –it’s time to listen.

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May 2, 2013 How Our Guts – and What We Eat – Contribute to Heart Disease, Stroke and the National Debt

by Delos M. Cosgrove

We’re gorging ourselves into an epidemic of chronic disease, the costs of which will soon overwhelm our ability to pay and continue to be a contributing factor to the ever-increasing national debt. More proof of this has emerged with two studies that have uncovered new links between common foods and heart disease, stroke and death.

The culprit is a little-known substance called TMAO, or trimethylamine-N-oxide. It’s created when bacteria in the gut interact with two specific dietary nutrients – carnitine (found in red meat and dairy products) and lecithin (found in egg yolks, liver, beef, pork and wheat germ).

We now know that TMAO helps fatty substances in the blood to accumulate in the walls of the coronary arteries. These accumulations, called plaques, are the frequent cause of chest pains and heart attacks.

These findings were made in two recent studies by researchers in the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute and reported in the New England Journal of Medicine and Nature Medicine. It’s interesting to note the usual bad guy in heart disease, dietary fat, is not the person of interest here. Carnitine, the substance that gut bacteria convert into TMAO, is not in the fatty part of the meat. It’s in the red, meaty part. So it doesn’t matter if you cut the fat off your steak, or if you buy lean cuts.

So there’s no getting away from it. We have to be more careful about what we put in our mouths. We need to be aware of the foods that contain high amounts of carnitine and lecithin. But the real message of this research is broader – each person’s unique gut flora has a tremendous impact in how our bodies react to these nutrients. Those with TMAO levels among the top 25 percent had 2.5 times the risk of a heart attack or stroke compared to people in the bottom 25 percent.

Such a finding could change the way we prevent and treat heart disease, by using TMAO blood levels as a marker of cardiovascular risk and possibly a treatment target.

No one is suggesting the complete elimination of red meat and egg yolk from your diet. Like so much in life, moderation is key. You can continue to enjoy a good steak, but you may want to limit it to about 4 to 6 ounces every other week.

We’re facing an avalanche of chronic disease in the coming years. Anything we can do to mitigate this avalanche of heart disease — and other chronic conditions like cancer and diabetes — will not only give us longer and happier lives, it will improve the economic outlook for our children and grandchildren who will ultimately have to pay for our poor lifestyle choices.

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Here is another interesting finding:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2010, there were over 850K licensed physicians in the United States. In the United States, there are approximately 24,000 physicians for every 10,000 people.

I wanted to find out how many physicians per people there were in the healthiest countries. Turns out, the average is 34.9 physicians for every 10,000 people.

So, the shortage isn’t just in the field of cardiovascular surgery. I am a HUGE fan of preventing disease instead of treating it. Will we no longer need physicians or surgeons if we are able to prevent disease?

Too late. Even if you are healthy today, you still exposed an inordinate amount of toxins in the environment AND stress caused by factors you can’t control. Staying healthy involves continually being educated on what toxins to avoid AND learning and relearning healthy strategies and HOW to remain calm in the face of adversity.

There is A LOT of adversity in the world.   Enough to make you sick.

So, any disease that exists now or in the future has already been created and needs to either be REVERSED or TREATED. It will take as long as it did to create this disease to rid it from the existing population in the world. The only people who can completely benefit from PREVENTION are those who are A) already healthy or B) newborns.

And these two groups still need to be consistently educated on prevention from people like Delos M. Cosgrove.

So, if you’re smart and want to help change the world, it’s a field that will have an opening for you when you graduate with a good starting salary.

Of course, I know everyone isn’t “cut” out to be a heart surgeon or can be.  All I’m saying is if you CAN, do it.  The only question is do you have the academic grades for it? If yes, you can find financial resources.  If you don’t have the grades for it or it’s too late to select this field –then encourage a smart kid to explore it as a career.

I know recent college grads who make between $7 to $15 an hour or $20K, which was the starting salary THIRTY years ago AND the economy was thriving then. So, if you or your kid is smart –think longterm.

You need patience to be an entrepreneur OR a heart surgeon.  The latter guarantees success & innovation as dexterity is now a criterion as robotics and computers enter operating rooms. Think of it as fun playing video games while saving lives.

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More importantly, it’s a career with HEART that won’t have you screaming, “I can’t take it anymore!” at the end.

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p.s.  I was a founder before it was cool or part of a herd mentality.

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Speaking of leaders, be sure to FOLLOW DELOS M. COSGROVE as a THOUGHT LEADER on Linked In.

Cleveland Clinic: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/default.aspx

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Click FOLLOW button on upper-right-hand corner of this blog to be alerted by email when there’s a new post, thanks.

Water Safety Tips for a Healthy Fourth of July!

LOTS OF PEOPLE SPEND THE 4TH OF JULY IN THE WATER, BUT DROWNING IS THE SECOND LEADING CAUSE OF ACCIDENTAL DEATHS FOR PEOPLE 15 – 44 YEARS OLD.

AND MOST PEOPLE DROWN WITHIN 10 – 30 FEET OF SAFETY.

DR. TOM TALLMAN IS AN EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN AT CLEVELAND CLINIC.
HE SAYS THERE IS ONE THING ALMOST EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW BEFORE GETTING IN THE WATER.

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“Everybody should know basic CPR because when someone has had a water-related injury, such as that, resuscitation can be rather simple.

CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

TO MINIMIZE THE RISK YOU SHOULD NEVER SWIM ALONE.

ALSO, NEVER DIVE INTO A LAKE OR RIVER BECAUSE WATER LEVELS FLUCTUATE.

CHILDREN AND NON-SWIMMERS SHOULD ALWAYS WEAR A LIFEJACKET.

AND DON’T OVERESTIMATE YOUR SWIMMING ABILITY.

AND IF YOU’RE PLANNING TO SPEND YOUR HOLIDAY POOLSIDE, DR. TALLMAN HAS A MESSAGE FOR PARENTS.

CG: Dr. Tom Tallman/Cleveland Clinic
“When parents are taking young children to swimming pools don’t rely on just the lifeguards who are there to save them. They still need to keep an eye on the kids and watch them very carefully.”

BOATERS SHOULD ALSO BE ON HIGH ALERT.  COAST GUARD RESEARCHERS SAY DROWNING WAS THE REPORTED CAUSE OF DEATH IN ALMOST THREE-FOURTHS OF RECREATIONAL BOATING FATALITIES LAST.

HAVE A GREAT DAY, EVERYONE!

DON’T FORGET YOU CAN USE RED, WHITE AND BLUE FRUITS TO CREATE A HEALTHY, CREATIVE MASTERPIECE!! 🙂

 

 

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month: Know the Signs!

According to the National Parkinson’s Foundation, over 50,000 new cases of Parkinson’s Disease are diagnosed each year.  Dr. Ryan Walsh is a neurologist at the Cleveland Clinic Ruvo Center for Brain Health and says there are early signs.

“There are early symptoms that may be related to the development of Parkinson’s Disease, for example, the loss of smell, although not specific to Parkinson’s Disease, is a prominent feature of the disease.”

The other early signs are anxiety and depression.

There is no one test to give you a 100% diagnosis, so the goal is to treat patients before they develop tremors.

Walsh says, “If you can slow it down here, rather than trying to slow it down later, you may actually have more of an impact on the disease.”

According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, almost 200 years after Parkinson’s was first discovered and after many new discoveries about the biology of the disease, a diagnosis still depends on identifying the core features — tremor, slowness and stiffness — described by James Parkinson.

The diagnosis of Parkinson’s does not come from a test, but instead requires a careful medical history and a physical examination to detect the cardinal signs of the disease, including the one Walsh mentions:

  • Resting Tremor: In the early stages of the disease, about 70 percent of people experience a slight tremor in the hand or foot on one side of the body, or less commonly in the jaw or face. A typical onset is tremor in one finger. The tremor consists of a shaking or oscillating movement, and usually appears when a person’s muscles are relaxed, or at rest, hence the term “resting tremor.”
  • The affected body part trembles when it is not performing an action. Typically, the fingers or hand will tremble when folded in the lap, or when the arm is held loosely at the side, i.e., when the limb is at rest. The tremor usually ceases when a person begins an action. Some people with PD have noticed that they can stop a hand tremor by keeping the hand in motion or in a flexed grip. The tremor of PD can be exacerbated by stress or excitement, sometimes attracting unwanted notice. The tremor often spreads to the other side of the body as the disease progresses, but usually remains most apparent on the initially affected side. Although tremor is the most noticeable outward sign of the disease, not all people with PD will develop tremor.
  • Bradykinesia: Bradykinesia means “slow movement.” A defining feature of Parkinson’s, bradykinesia also describes a general reduction of spontaneous movement, which can give the appearance of abnormal stillness and a decrease in facial expressivity. Bradykinesia causes difficulty with repetitive movements, such as finger tapping. Due to bradykinesia, a person with Parkinson’s may have difficulty performing everyday functions,such as buttoning a shirt, cutting food or brushing his or her teeth. People who experience bradykinesia may walk with short, shuffling steps. The reduction in movement and the limited range of movement caused by bradykinesia can affect a person’s speech, which may become quieter and less distinct as Parkinson’s progresses.
  • Rigidity: Rigidity causes stiffness and inflexibility of the limbs, neck and trunk. Muscles normally stretch when they move, and then relax when they are at rest. In Parkinson’s rigidity, the muscle tone of an affected limb is always stiff and does not relax, sometimes contributing to a decreased range of motion. People with PD most commonly experience tightness of the neck, shoulder and leg. A person with rigidity and bradykinesia tends to not swing his or her arms when walking. Rigidity can be uncomfortable or even painful.
  • Postural Instability: One of the most important signs of Parkinson’s is postural instability, a tendency to be unstable when standing upright. A person with posturalinstability has lost some of the reflexes needed for maintaining an upright posture, and may topple backwards if jostled even slightly. Some develop a dangerous tendency to sway backwards when rising from a chair, standing or turning. This problem is called retropulsion and may result in a backwards fall. People with balance problems may have particular difficulty when pivoting or making turns or quick movements. Doctors test postural stability by using the “pull test.” During this test, the neurologist gives a moderately forceful backwards tug on the standing individual and observes how well the person recovers. The normal response is a quick backwards step to prevent a fall; but many people with Parkinson’s are unable to recover, and would tumble backwards if the neurologist were not right there to catch him or her.

Secondary Motor Symptoms

In addition to the cardinal signs of Parkinson’s, there are many other motor symptoms associated with the disease.

  • Freezing: Freezing of gait is an important sign of PD that is not explained by rigidity or bradykinesia. People who experience freezing will normally hesitate before stepping forward. They feel as if their feet are glued to the floor. Often, freezing is temporary, and a person can enter a normal stride once he or she gets past the first step. Freezing can occur in very specific situations, such as when starting to walk, when pivoting, when crossing a threshold or doorway, and when approaching a chair. For reasons unknown, freezing rarely happens on stairs. Various types of cues, such as an exaggerated first step, can help with freezing. Some individuals have severe freezing, in which they simply cannot take a step. Freezing is a potentially serious problem in Parkinson’s disease, as it may increase a person’s risk of falling forward.
  • Micrographia: This term is the name for a shrinkage in handwriting that progresses the more a person with Parkinson’s writes. This occurs as a result of bradykinesia, which causes difficulty with repetitive actions. Drooling and excess saliva result from reduced swallowing movements.
  • Mask-like Expression: This expression, found in Parkinson’s, meaning a person’s face may appear less expressive than usual, can occur because of decreased unconscious facial movements. The flexed posture of PD may result from a combination of rigidity and bradykinesia.
  • Unwanted Accelerations: It is worth noting that some people with Parkinson’s experience movements that are too quick, not too slow. These unwanted accelerations are especially troublesome in speech and movement. People with excessively fast speech, tachyphemia, produce a rapid stammering that is hard to understand. Those who experience festination, an uncontrollable acceleration in gait, may be at increased risk for falls.

Additional secondary motor symptoms include those below, but not all people with Parkinson’s will experience all of these.  

  • Stooped posture, a tendency to lean forward
  • Dystonia
  • Impaired fine motor dexterity and motor coordination
  • Impaired gross motor coordination
  • Poverty of movement (decreased arm swing)
  • Akathisia
  • Speech problems, such as softness of voice or slurred speech caused by lack of muscle control
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Cramping
  • Drooling

Nonmotor Symptoms

Most people with Parkinson’s experience nonmotor symptoms, those that do not involve movement, coordination, physical tasks or mobility. While a person’s family and friends may not be able to see them, these “invisible” symptoms can actually be more troublesome for some people than the motor impairments of PD.

Early Symptoms

Many researchers believe that nonmotor symptoms may precede motor symptoms — and a Parkinson’s diagnosis — by years. The most recognizable early symptoms include:

  • loss of sense of smell, constipation
  • REM behavior disorder (a sleep disorder)
  • mood disorders
  • orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure when standing up).

If a person has one or more of these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that individual will develop Parkinson’s, but these markers are helping scientists to better understand the disease process.

Other Nonmotor Symptoms

Some of these important and distressing symptoms include:

  • sleep disturbances
  • constipation
  • bladder problems
  • sexual problems
  • excessive saliva
  • weight loss or gain
  • vision and dental problems
  • fatigue and loss of energy.
  • depression
  • fear and anxiety
  • skin problems
  • cognitive issues, such as memory difficulties, slowed thinking, confusion and in some cases, dementia
  •  medication side effects, such as impulsive behaviors


TODAY’S LATEST PARKINSON’S DISEASE NEWS FROM REUTERS HEALTH

(Reuters Health) – People with diabetes may have a heightened risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, especially at a relatively young age, a new study finds.

Published in the journal Diabetes Care, the study adds to recent research linking diabetes to Parkinson’s disease.

But neither this report nor the earlier ones prove that diabetes, itself, raises a person’s risk of Parkinson’s — a disorder in which movement-regulating brain cells gradually become disabled or die.

Instead, researchers suspect that it’s more likely diabetes and Parkinson’s share some common underlying causes.

The new study looked at health insurance claims from more than one million Taiwanese adults — including a little over 600,000 with diabetes.

Researchers found that over nine years, people with diabetes were more likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. They were diagnosed at a rate of 3.6 cases per 10,000 people each year, versus 2.1 per 10,000 among people without diabetes.

When the researchers factored in age, sex and certain other health conditions, they found that diabetes was still linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s — especially at a relatively young age.

Among women in their 40s and 50s, those with diabetes had twice the risk of Parkinson’s that diabetes-free women did.

The same was true among men in their 20s and 30s, though that was based on only a handful of Parkinson’s cases: there were four cases among young men with diabetes, and two among those without diabetes.

Exactly what it all means is unclear, according to Drs. Yu Sun and Chung-Yi Li, who led the study.

But on average, people develop Parkinson’s diagnosis around age 60, the researchers noted in an email to Reuters Health.

“Our findings tend to suggest a relationship between diabetes and early-onset Parkinson’s disease,” said Sun and Li, who are based at En Chu Kong Hospital and National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan.

That’s in line with a study of Danish adults published last year, the researchers noted. (See Reuters Health story of April 15, 2011).

Still, it’s impossible to say for sure that diabetes, itself, is to blame.

One reason is that the current study had limited information, according to Sun and Li.

“Because our study was based on claims data,” they said, “it lacks information on some of the known risk factors for Parkinson’s disease, such as pesticide exposure.”

Researchers have speculated on the potential reasons for the diabetes-Parkinson’s link, and they suspect there might be certain biological mechanisms that contribute to both conditions.

One possibility is chronic, low-level inflammation throughout the body, which is suspected of contributing to a number of chronic diseases by damaging cells. There might also be a common genetic susceptibility to both diabetes and Parkinson’s.

But even if people with diabetes have a relatively elevated risk of Parkinson’s, it’s still a low risk, Sun and Li pointed out.

In this study, there were fewer than four cases per 10,000 diabetic adults each year.

A recent U.S. study found a similar pattern: Of 21,600 older adults with diabetes, 0.8 percent were diagnosed with Parkinson’s over 15 years. That compared with 0.5 percent of people who were diabetes-free at the study’s start.

The researchers on that study said that people with diabetes should simply continue to do the things already recommended for their overall health — like eating a well-balanced diet and getting regular exercise.

Sun and Li agreed with that advice. “There is no need for patients with diabetes to worry too much about the development of Parkinson’s disease,” they said.

More studies are needed, the researchers said, to understand why diabetes is related to a higher Parkinson’s risk — and what, if anything, can be done about it.

Diabetes arises when the body can no longer properly use the blood-sugar-regulating hormone insulin. Parkinson’s occurs when movement-regulating cells in the brain die off or become disabled, leading to symptoms like tremors, rigidity in the joints, slowed movement and balance problems.

Researchers say it’s possible that something about diabetes — like a problem regulating insulin — might somehow contribute to Parkinson’s. But that remains unproven.

SOURCE: bit.ly/HdmwiU Diabetes Care, online March 19, 2012.