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PAM Rehab Battles Parkinson’s Disease with LSVT therapy

August 1st, 2017

Cyndi Lyons, OTR; Jennifer Deans, PTA; Christine Ross, PT, DPT; Jessly Lopez, PT, DPT; Noah Gregorio, PT; Lyn Williams, M.S., CCC-SLP

PAM Rehabilitation Hospital of Clear Lake is committed to facilitating functional improvement in its patients. To address the needs of patients with Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological conditions, its therapist has undergone certification in Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) LOUD and BIG.

As Parkinson’s disease progresses, individuals often exhibit reduced loudness, monotone speech, a hoarse vocal quality. Individuals frequently report “people can’t hear me on the phone” or “my family say they cannot hear me.” Slowed movement, rigid muscles, unstable balance, and a “shuffling gait” are also noted with Parkinson’s Disease. These symptoms may cause frequent falls and overall decreased mobility.

LSVT LOUD was developed in 1987 and is the first speech treatment with level one evidence and established efficacy for treating voice and speech disorders in individuals with Parkinson’s Disease. This treatment protocol improves vocal loudness by stimulating the muscles of the voice box (larynx) and speech through an organized hierarchy of exercises. LSVT LOUD is facilitated by a certified Speech Language Pathologist over 16 sessions. Patients are required to attend four individual 60 minute sessions per week for one month.

In order for a patient to receive LSVT LOUD treatment, they must have the following:

  • Physician order for a LSVT LOUD evaluation
  • Comprehensive examination with an Otolaryngologist

The principles of LSVT LOUD were also applied to limb movement via LSVT BIG, which aims to generalize limb speed, balance, and quality of life via repetitions of core movements that are used in daily living. This treatment is directed by a certified physical or occupational therapist. Like LSVT LOUD, it is administered in 16 sessions over a single month. Patients are required to attend four individual 60 minute sessions per week.

PAM Rehabilitation Hospital of Clear Lake presently has 6 therapists certified in the LSVT treatment programs. Therapists underwent a two day course in order to obtain certification. Each therapist is required to complete a renewal course every two years in order to ensure compliance with the most current advances and research.

Anyone interested in these treatment protocols is encouraged to contact PAM Rehabilitation Hospital of Clear Lake at 832-224-9500 with any questions they may have.

Houston Methodist St. John Hospital offers seminar on Parkinson’s disease

April 25th, 2016

a32c0a51393f46be8740ec362b825309Patients living with Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor may be helped by a common surgical technique known as deep brain stimulation, or DBS.

Physicians at Houston Methodist St. John Hospital say DBS can lessen the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease – including tremor, rigidity, stiffness, slowed movements and difficulty walking – and improve a patient’s overall quality of life.

On Wednesday, May 4, the hospital is hosting a free informational seminar on DBS and how it can benefit patients with Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor. The seminar begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Main Lobby at Houston Methodist St. John Hospital, 18300 St. John Drive in Nassau Bay.

The event is open to the public but registration is required. Register online at houstonmethodist.org/events or by phone at 281.333.8899.

“Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders such as essential tremor are debilitating because they take away mobility and the muscle control needed to perform every-day activities,” says Dr. Leanne Burnett, a fellowship-trained movement disorder neurologist at Houston Methodist St. John Hospital.

“This is especially true for patients who don’t respond to traditional medications, or who suffer from severe side effects of medication. Those patients may respond positively to DBS, which can provide a number of therapeutic benefits.”

During the DBS procedure, a neurosurgeon places small electrodes, called leads, in specific areas of the brain that are affected by the disorder. Those leads are attached by thin wires to a battery-powered neurostimulator, which is implanted just under the skin, usually below the collarbone.

Once in place, the neurostimulator is calibrated to send electrical pulses to the leads, which block the abnormal nerve signals in the brain that cause symptoms. The neurologist can program the stimulator to achieve the best effect.

“We can identify exactly where those electrical nerve signals are being generated through the use of magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography scanning prior to the procedure,” says Dr. Richard Simpson, a board-certified neurosurgeon at Houston Methodist Neurological Institute. “That allows us to precisely place the leads for maximum benefit. We can also adjust the electrical pulses sent by the neurostimulator to fine-tune the treatment over time.”

Patients on medication for Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor often exhibit side effects that include involuntary movements, called dyskinesia.

“We find that many patients who undergo DBS can reduce the amount of medication they require, which slows or even stops the side effects they are experiencing,” says Dr. Burnett. “So they get relief from their symptoms as well as from the side effects that are common with medication. That combination of benefits can make a significant difference in their ability to handle the daily tasks and activities that we take for granted.”

To find a Houston Methodist St. John Hospital physician, visit houstonmethodist.org/stjohn or call 281.333.8899.