Guest commentary by Michael S. Okun, M.D. , National Medical Director, National Parkinson Foundation.

The reason I wrote this Parkinson’s Treatment Book, was to reach as many people from as many cultures and languages worldwide and to arm them with 10 secrets that can help them to live a happier life. It is important that we keep in mind the simple tips and secrets that can improve the lives of sufferers. One secret that is kept a little bit too tightly by Parkinson’s disease experts, is that the Parkinson medication interval (timing) is as important as the dose. Here are some practical tips that can improve the number of hours of good quality functioning in each day for a Parkinson’s patient:

  • If the medication is wearing off before the next dose, consider moving dosages closer together.
  • It is not uncommon for some Parkinson’s disease patients to require medications even as close as every 2-3 hours.
  • If you experience dyskinesia (extra movements usually an hour or more after a medication dose) you may need to decrease the dose, and move the medication intervals closer together.
  • Medication timing usually changes as Parkinson’s disease progresses.
  • Remember in Parkinson’s disease timing is everything!
  • Sometimes before a big race or athletic event Parkinson’s patients will take an extra dose of medication.

The most humbling experience of my life has been the time I have spent with families, and with patients suffering from Parkinson’s and chronic neurological diseases. I use the word humbling, because time after time, in person, and also on the web forum, we have uncovered simple and addressable issues and secrets that have changed people’s lives. For some sufferers it has meant walking again, for others it has restored their voices, and for many it has resulted in the lifting of a depression, anxiety and desperation cloud that has obscured their dreams, and robbed them of potential unrealized happiness. I never assume a sufferer or family member is aware of the “secrets” that may lead to hope and to a happier life. We must share these secrets, and this is the purpose of this website.

My newest book, Parkinson’s Treatment: 10 Secrets to a Happier Life was published on April 1, 2013 for Parkinson’s Awareness month. We have provided translations of the book and its secrets into over 20 languages, so that we can help people from all worldwide cultures and languages. In each chapter of this new book I will reveal an important secret, and will explain the insight, the rationale, the empiricism, and the science behind it. Additionally, in each chapter I will try to reveal a little more about myself, and a lot more about the patients and talented clinicians who gifted the secrets.

These patients planted the seed of faith. They learned to grow hope, and they discovered the core values necessary to achieve happiness despite chronic disease.

Dr. Okun writes several blogs for Parkinson’s disease patients to learn and exchange the secrets that can help them to live a happier life. To find out more about Parkinson’s Treatment: 10 Secrets to a Happier Life or to follow his Dr. Okun’s Blog, visit his website at ParkinsonSecrets.com.
 
His book can also be ordered online from our Reading List.

About the Author
Michael S. Okun, MD is considered a world’s authority on Parkinson’s disease treatment, and his publications and blogs provide a voice and an outlet to empower people living with Parkinson’s disease all over the world. He is currently Administrative Director and Co-director of the Center for Movement Disorders and Neuro-restoration at the University of Florida, and National Medical Director, National Parkinson Foundation. Dr. Okun has enjoyed a prolific research career, and he has participated in pioneering studies exploring the cognitive, behavioral, and mood effects of new drugs, behavioral treatments, and deep brain stimulation (DBS). He has been invited to speak about Parkinson disease and movement disorders all over the world, and his work can be found in such places as the New England Journal of Medicine, and on the patient forums and blogs at the National Parkinson Foundation.