The Parkinson’s Disease Education Summit welcomed approximately 130 people with Parkinson’s disease and their care givers at the Hope Lutheran Church on February 10, 2018 in Fresno, California. Presented by The Parkinson’s Foundation Moving Day program in Fresno, the day-long event was hosted by the Greater Fresno Parkinson’s Support Group. The event sponsor was Acadia Pharmaceuticals and presenting sponsors were Abbvie, and US WorldMeds.
The keynote speaker was Jaimie Henderson, MD., Director, Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, Stanford. Dr. Henderson, a leading neurosurgeon in Deep Brain Stimulation gave an overview of the DBS procedure and explained the features of Boston Scientific DBS equipment.
The Boston Scientific deep brain stimulation (DBS) system, Vercise treats Parkinson’s disease symptoms, such as involuntary movement, muscle rigidity and tremors. While the device has been marketed in Europe and other regions for several years, this is the company’s first cleared DBS device in the U.S.
The Boston Scientific system is described as offering a technological advantage by more precisely modulating the current to their DBS probes. Boston Scientific joins Medtronic and St. Jude Medical in offering DBS equipment.
In addition to Dr. Henderson’s speech, other participants and speakers at the event included John Bowers, Rock Steady Boxing, and Kathy Page, Dance for PD, who demonstrated the benefits boxing moves and dance to improve balance, cognition, motor skills.
Miranda T. Ruiz, MC, CCC-SLP, Neuro-Communication Solutions, LLC. offered strategies to boost personal wellness, reduce stress, while enhancing caregiving.
Lisa Bennett, Quality Life Solutions, Inc. and The Law Offices of Philip M. Flanagan, gave an informative presentation on senior care planning and asset protection. She emphasized the importance of having power of attorney and explained the difference between trusts and wills, and other legal tools.
Lin Zhang, M.D. of UC Davis discussed Parkinson’s disease and the Management of Off Episodes.
John Nicodemus a Parkinson’s disease patient led a dynamic discussion about men and PD.
The audience also had a surprise visit from Rafael Zuzuarregui, M.D., known by patients as “Dr. Z.” He is board certified in Neurology and fellowship trained in Movement Disorders and Sleep Disorders. In addition to seeing patients, Dr. Z is an assistant clinical professor at UCSF in Fresno.
Dr. Z grew up in Clovis before going on to finish his Movement Disorder fellowship at Boston University School of Medicine and his Sleep Disorder Fellowship at Stanford University School of Medicine. He may be contacted at: University Neurology Associates, 2335 E. Kashian Lane, Suite 301, Fresno, CA 93701, (559) 264-9100
In the session on support for women with PD, the audience was pleased to meet Susan Curtis and Sheron Schiller, a pair of women who are starting their own women-only support group that will meet monthly in Clovis.
Their meetings will be on the first Monday of each month at 11:30 am to 1: 00 pm in a private room at Luna Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant, 349 Pollasky Ave., Clovis. Women with Parkinson’s disease are invited to their next meeting on March 5.
Focusing on women’s issues, Curtis and Schiller are inviting women, and not men, or care givers who have separate issues of concern. Their women-only support group provides a place for women to openly discuss all topics related to the disease.
“When you are faced with a debilitating chronic disease, it is a great comfort to be able to share your thoughts with someone who is like-miinded,” said Schiller. The women plan to keep the group as a social meeting, without a set agenda.
Curtis and Schiller are also members of The Greater Fresno Parkinson’s Support Group that is open to both genders. They conceived of the idea of a women’s support group when they attended a “women with PD” breakout session held by the Greater Fresno group in November.
The information-filled Summit hosted by The Greater Fresno Parkinson’s Support Group was directed by volunteers Patty Stratton, and her husband Mel. Co-leaders Ken Rivera and Karen Shaver managed the program. Karen was also responsible for organizing the speakers. Ken’s wife Marcie, was in charge of food and many other details!
Stratton and volunteers plan to organize another Summit next year that will be worthwhile for anyone impacted by Parkinson’s disease. Their support group extends sincere gratitude to the Parkinson’s Foundation for helping to kick start their community project, the Parkinson’s Disease Educational Summit.