Team Care Advantage | Diagnostic Tools | Treatment Options | Research and Innovation | For More Information
Tremor, stiffness, slowness of movement, difficulty with walking and balance problems: these symptoms can be signs of Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurological condition that affects 2 percent of individuals during their lifetime, and approximately one million Americans presently.
The NorthShore Neurological Institute is a recognized leader in the treatment of movement disorders including Parkinson’s disease (PD), as well as other movement disorders such as essential tremor, dystonia, Huntington’s disease, tics, hemifacial spasm, ataxia and spasticity. Our movement disorder specialists are familiar with the diagnosis of these diseases and provide comprehensive, compassionate care that addresses not only the symptoms of the disease but also the individual.
Team Care Advantage
Our multidisciplinary movement disorders team takes a comprehensive approach to diagnosing and treating Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. 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 important 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 the electronic medical record to obtain information that carefully assesses the severity and progression of Parkinson's disease over time. The collection and analysis of this information allows us to define the best practices to treat these complex diseases, improve patient care and doctor-to-doctor and doctor-to-patient communication.
Parkinson's Disease Diagnosis
Our movement disorders physicians have access to advanced imaging technologies that include magnetic resonance imaging, dopamine transporter imaging, positron emission tomography and optical coherence tomography, quantitative EEG and other advanced neurophysiology assessment tools.
Parkinson's Disease Treatment Options
While Parkinson’s is a progressive disease, many symptoms can be controlled with medication. Managing this condition as soon as it is diagnosed is essential to patients’ long-term well being. We employ a multidisciplinary team approach to engage our patients and their families with the goal of developing individualized treatment plans.
NorthShore neurologists use a variety of drug therapies to help patients control their Parkinson’s symptoms including recently FDA approved drugs. In addition, our specialists participate in 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. 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 or may develop complications of medical therapy. For these individuals, surgical approaches such as deep brain stimulation (DBS). DBS involves the implantation of electrodes in the brain that electrically stimulate specific target areas. After DBS the medications can be reduced by 50 percent or more and the patients can experience significant and long-lasting improvements in their 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 several hundred 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 funding support 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 lead a consortium of a number of other neurology departments in universities and health systems in the country (Neurology Best Practices Research Network, NBPRN) that uses electronic medical record documentation that we have developed to help standardize neurological care to accurately assess clinical outcomes and develop best practices to treat Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders. We also participate in the Genetic Epidemiology of Parkinson’s Disease (GEO-PD) Consortium that includes investigators from 57 sites from 29 countries and 6 continents who share DNA and data for more than 38,000 Parkinson’s disease cases and 35,000 control subjects. Their genetic discoveries have contributed to the development of new methods to treat Parkinson’s disease and in advancing the knowledge of the disease causes.
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.