Team Care Advantage | Diagnostic Tools | Treatment Options | Research and Innovation | For More Information

Tremors. Stiff muscles. Slow movement. Difficulties with walking or balance. These symptoms are often telltale signs of Parkinson’s disease, a condition that afflicts two percent of individuals during their lifetime, and about one million Americans presently.

The NorthShore Neurological Institute is a recognized leader in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Parkinson’s-related conditions as well as other movement disorders such as tremors, dystonia, chorea, tics, hemifacial spasm and spasticity. Our specialists thoroughly understand the intricacies of PD and other movement disorders, providing comprehensive, compassionate care that addresses not only the disease, but the whole person.

Team Care Advantage

Our multidisciplinary movement disorders team takes a comprehensive approach to diagnosing and treating Parkinson’s disease and related conditions. Our experts include fellowship-trained neurologists, neurosurgeons, physiatrists (who work closely with physical and occupational therapists), neurophysiologists and neuropsychologists. Dedicated nurse clinicians and a physician assistant are also critical members of the team, serving as a continuous resource and as the point of contact for patients and their families.

At NorthShore, we are innovators in the use of electronic medical records to gather information that carefully measures the severity and progression of Parkinson's disease over time. This data collection allows us to define best practices and record and relay important details of patient care for the benefit of doctor-to-doctor and doctor-to-patient communication.

Parkinson's Disease Diagnosis

Our movement disorders doctors have access to advanced imaging technologies that include magnetic resonance imaging, dopamine transporter and single photon emission CT, positron emission tomography and ocular coherence tomography. We also have access to quantitative EEG and EMG and other sophisticated neurophysiology assessment tools.

Parkinson's Disease Treatment Options

Parkinson’s is a progressive disease that usually can be controlled with medication. Managing this condition as soon as it is diagnosed is essential to patients’ long-term success. We employ a multidisciplinary team approach to engage our patients and their families with the goal of developing individualized treatment plans.

NorthShore neurologists have a variety of drug therapies at their disposal to help patients control their Parkinson’s symptoms, including tremors. Promising new drugs to help slow the progression of the disease are in the pipeline. At the forefront of novel therapeutics, our specialists participate in conducting clinical trials to ensure that our patients have access to the latest treatment options.

Patients can also benefit from lifestyle changes that include regular exercise and stress reduction to stave off the functional decline that often comes with PD and related disorders. Working side-by-side with the program’s neurologists, our physiatry experts offer physical medicine and rehabilitative services to help patients optimize their functional independence and improve quality of life. Incorporating the latest rehabilitation strategies gleaned from ongoing clinical research—from cognitive movement and cueing strategies to amplitude-based therapy and balance exercises—they put into practice tailored treatment plans to help Parkinson’s disease patients improve and maximize their mobility. For some patients, walking is the goal. For others, simply getting up from a chair is a major step toward regaining or maintaining independence.

After careful evaluation of our Parkinson's disease patients, our physiatry specialists may recommend physical or occupational therapy; appropriate assistive devices such as braces or walkers; and/or modifications in patients’ living and work environments such as the installation of handrails to help keep individuals safe at home or on the job. Caregiver training also is available.

Some patients are unable to obtain sufficient relief through medications or physical measures. For these individuals, sophisticated brain surgery techniques including deep brain stimulation (DBS)  can provide significant benefits. DBS involves the implantation of electrodes in the brain that electrically stimulate target areas. After undergoing DBS, most patients can reduce their medications by 50 percent or more and see long-lasting improvements in their Parkinson's symptoms.

The Neurological Institute’s experienced DBS team features neurologists, neurosurgeons and neurophysiologists. Specializing in the care of Parkinson’s disease patients, the team has treated more than 250 patients with this advanced surgical procedure since the mid-1990s.

Leaders in Research and Innovation

Neurological Institute movement disorders specialists are international leaders in research and innovation. Our clinician investigators and their research teams have received more than $20 million in funding support, including from the National Institutes of Health and the Michael J. Fox Foundation. We aim to develop methods to predict, prevent and halt the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Enrollment in our studies is ongoing.

We also lead the Genetic Epidemiology of Parkinson’s Disease (GEO-PD) Consortium. GEO-PD includes investigators from 57 sites from 29 countries and 6 continents who share DNA and data for 38,686 PD cases and 34,871 control subjects. Their genetic discoveries have contributed to the development of new methods to treat Parkinson’s disease.

For More Information

Please call 877.570.7020 for more information on Parkinson's symptoms and treatment or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.