Parkinson's Unity Walk

April 11, 2009 10:57:39 AM PDT
The Parkinson's Unity Walk, the largest grassroots event raising Parkinson's awareness, is just two weeks away. Carol Walton, the Executive Director of the Parkinson's Unity Walk, and Dr. Michele Tagliati, Associate Professor of Neurology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, joined us. Major Clinical Trial

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) - a treatment in which a pacemaker-like device sends electrical pulses to deep structures in the brain - is riskier than drug therapy but may hold significant benefits for those with Parkinson's disease (PD) who no longer respond well to medication alone.

That is the conclusion of researchers from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) who conducted a six-year study that included 255 PD and compared DBS to medication, along with speech, physical or occupational therapy, given as needed. The results of the trial, the largest of its kind to date, appear in the January 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Main results of the study:

1. Patients who received DBS gained an average of almost 5 hours per day of good motor control and few or no involuntary movements, compared with no improvement for those on medical therapy alone.
2. Over 70% of DBS patients showed significant improvement in motor function, compared with only 32% of drug therapy patients.
3. Serious adverse side effects were nearly four times more common in the DBS group, but almost all of these effects in both groups were resolved by the end of the six-month study.
4. One-quarter of the PD patients included in the study were aged 70 years or older and they experienced similar motor improvement as compared to younger patients. Improved mobility and activities of daily living, together with a decreased disease stigma resulted in significant benefit for quality of life.

WHAT:15th Parkinson's Unity Walk
WHEN:Saturday, April 25th, 2009 (rain or shine)
WHERE: The Bandshell at Central Park on 72nd Street, New York City.
Join the 15th Parkinson's Unity Walk for a day of community and education, including a gentle 2-mile Walk around Central Park!
The Parkinson's Unity Walk is the largest grassroots fundraiser for Parkinson's disease in the country.
WHY:100% of all donations go toward research. Parkinson's Unity Walk is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization. For more information: visit
For more information, call 866-PUW-WALK 866-789-9255) or email