Fellowship award winners announced

Parkinson Society is pleased to announce that, commencing July 1, 2009, fellowships for post-residency training, have been awarded to:

• Dr. Manon Bouchard (one year)
• Dr. Amitabh Gupta (one year)
• Dr. Michael Sidel (two years)

Dr. Manon BouchardDr. Manon Bouchard
Clinical Movement Disorders Fellowship ($50,000)
Foothills Hospital, University of Calgary

Neurologist Dr. Manon Bouchard will spend her fellowship year working with Dr. Oksana Suchowersky at the Movement Disorders Clinic at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary and gaining expertise in treating Parkinson’s patients for sleep disorders. She will also learn how to select candidates for deep-brain stimulation (DBS) surgery and how to program and re-program the stimulator for DBS patients’ follow-up care. Once trained, Dr. Bouchard will return with her new expertise to Hôtel Dieu de Lévis Hospital in Quebec.

wp-ami-gupta2Dr. Amitabh Gupta
Clinical Research Fellowship ($50,000)
Morton and Gloria Shulman Movement Disorders Centre
Toronto Western Hospital

Dr. Amitabh Gupta will train at the Morton and Gloria Shulman Movement Disorders Centre at Toronto Western Hospital, under the supervision of Dr. Anthony Lang. In addition to providing patient care, Dr. Gupta will focus on Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), a condition that is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s but has a worse prognosis and limited therapeutic options. Dr. Gupta’s research will seek to improve the diagnostic criteria of MSA, as well as investigate aspects of sleep-related problems and cognitive deficits, in an effort to enhance disease understanding, patient care and therapeutic options.

Dr. Michael SidelDr. Michael Sidel
Clinical Research Fellowship ($100,000)
Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research
Sir Mortimer B. Davis, Jewish General Hospital

Dr. Michael Sidel will spend his two-year clinical research fellowship training under the supervision of three neurologists: Dr. Calvin Melmed and Dr. Alexander Thiel at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research at Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital, and Dr. Anne-Louise Lafontaine, director of the Movement Disorders Clinic at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Chair of PSC’s Research Policy Committee. Using a new technique, called transcranial magnetic stimulation, Dr. Sidel will try to determine which brain pathways are involved when people with Parkinson’s experience dyskinesia, the uncontrollable movements that are often a side-effect of Parkinson’s drug treatments. Finding these pathways will enable researchers to develop drugs or new surgical interventions to prevent or treat dyskinesia. Dr. Sidel will also diagnose and treat patients during his fellowship.


How can I get the most out of my relationship with the members of my healthcare team?

Douglas HobsonDr. Douglas Everett Hobson
Director, Movement Disorders Clinic, Deer Lodge Centre
Winnipeg, Manitoba

• Stay in touch with your family physician. Even if he or she defers decisions about Parkinson’s disease to a specialist, your primary care physician is often the person who will carry out the specialist’s suggestions.
• Arrive on time for appointments or call ahead to say you will be late.
• Bring a family member or close friend who knows you well.
• Always bring a list of your current medications and your pharmacy’s telephone number. If possible, keep track of previous medications you have tried, the maximal dose and any side-effects.
• Focus on the two to three main issues at each appointment. Realize the doctor cannot always see you on time or address all your concerns in a single session.
• Be honest. Doctors find it difficult to manage patients who say what they think the doctor wants to hear as opposed to saying the truth.
• Make sure you fully understand any new instructions before you leave.
• Take advantage of the resources provided by allied health professionals.
• Beware of internet “cures.” In the absence of current cures, the world of treating chronic illnesses is full of fraudulent claims that may not only be ineffective but also dangerous. Discuss any “cure” first with your doctor.
• Remember, doctors can only provide advice. Ultimately, you have to manage your illness and that also means managing your health. Eat well and keep mentally and physically active.

Lucie LachanceLucie Lachance, B.Sc., M.Sc.
Clinical Nurse Specialist
McGill Movement Disorders Program
Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital
Montreal, Quebec

Think of the clinical nurse specialist as a companion on your journey, providing continuity of care. He or she is a contact point for patients and family members and a liaison with members of the multidisciplinary team. Take advantage of the clinical nurse specialist’s ability to provide information and advice on symptom management and other concerns during clinic visits or by telephone. The support of the clinical nurse specialist can help you adjust to the many changes you will face.

Janet MillarJanet Millar
Maritime Parkinson Clinic
Dalhousie University
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Physiotherapists need to know what you’re experiencing on a day-to-day basis in order to offer appropriate advice for improving your activities of daily living and enhancing your health and fitness.
• Make a list or know what you want to discuss at each visit.
• Be honest about what bothers you most, what limits you most, and what you are willing to do to contribute to your own well-being. If you tell us that you’re not going to do exercises, we can ask if you like to play golf or swim. It’s our job to pinpoint activities that work for you.
• Follow our suggestions.
• If you have difficulty following the recommendations, call and ask for help; don’t just quit. We would like to know why you’re unable to follow through and what we can do to change that.
• Keep an open dialogue with your health team. If you read or hear about another technique or strategy, discuss it with your health team first. You need to have a team you can count on.

Tips for choosing and working with the right pharmacist
(supplied by Parkinson Society British Columbia)

► Ask if the pharmacist is familiar with Parkinson’s medications.

  • Does the pharmacist clearly explain the differences between Parkinson’s medications, the side-effects and potential drug interactions?
  • Is prescription home delivery available? Cost?
  • How quickly can refills be supplied?

► Before filling a new prescription, bring a list of all your medications including:

  •  Parkinson’s medications
  •  other prescription medications
  •  over-the-counter medications, including common drugs such as Aspirin
  •  vitamin, dietary or herbal supplements

► Share this information with the pharmacist and ask if there are any potential complications from using the medications together.

► Have the pharmacist review the doctor’s instructions with you, including:

  • how many times a day to take the medication
  • whether it should be taken with or without food
  • how the medication should be stored
  • what to do if a dose is missed
  • possible side-effects and what to do if they do occur
  • warnings and precautions

► While on medication, speak to your pharmacist if you:

  • experience any of the side-effects and are unclear what to do
  • experience any unusual reactions, such as, constipation, urinary problems, nausea, mood swings, and/or sleep disorders
  • miss a dose and can’t recall what you should do
  • have any questions about your treatment
  • have any questions about generic substitutions


Focus on creativity

Creative Expressions is a new web page we have launched to honour the artistic talents of the many people with Parkinson’s who have chosen to communicate and express themselves through creative writing, visual art and crafts.

Visit Creative Expressions to see their work.


Working with One Voice

Yvon Trepanier By Yvon Trepanier,
Chair, National Advocacy Committee

First steps taken toward national research study

Over 3,000 people with or affected by neurological disorders responded to an online questionnaire, in February 2009, asking what types of information should be collected for a four-year national research study to uncover the incidence, prevalence, risk factors and impacts of neurological conditions across Canada. The study is spearheaded by Neurological Health Charities Canada (NHCC), a collective of organizations that represent people with chronic, often progressive, brain diseases, disorders and injuries in Canada. The federal government has committed $15 million to fund the project. Parkinson Society Canada plays a leadership role in the NHCC.

Tulips sent to Parliament Hill

For the April Parkinson’s Awareness Month, the National Advocacy Committee:
• sent fresh tulips to the Prime Minister and federal Minister of Health;
• had an Awareness Month announcement  read in the House of Commons by Barrie MP Patrick Brown (download wmv), and read in the Senate by Senator Sharon Carstairs;
• mailed Research Highlights (pdf) to all MPs and Senators, along with a letter signed by PSC President & CEO Joyce Gordon and National Advocacy Committee Chair, Yvon Trepanier;
• sent an information page to all MPs for inclusion in their householder newsletters.

Tell us your experiences of genetic discrimination

PSC is participating in an initiative, led by the Huntington Society of Canada, to persuade the federal government to create legislation that will protect the privacy of individual genetic information and protect against discrimination based on genetic predisposition to disease. If you have had personal experience of either a breach of privacy of genetic information or genetic discrimination, contact us at general.info@parkinson.ca.

Meet us at the PSC Advocacy Café

Advocating for a better life for Canadians with Parkinson’s disease and their families is a community effort. We need your voice and support. You can join us at the PSC Advocacy Café to share information and ideas on how we can work together, or send an email to advocacy@parkinson.ca.