Challenges with movement only half the story in Parkinson’s

New Handbook reveals the non-motor side

Toronto, March 21, 2012 – People with Parkinson’s disease have a new tool to help them identify the non-motor symptoms they are experiencing with their Parkinson’s disease.

A Guide to the Non-Motor Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, the first of its kind in Canada, is a user-friendly, educational booklet, designed to help people with Parkinson’s recognize non-motor symptoms such as cognitive impairment, sleep problems and compulsive behaviours and learn about treatments and strategies to manage them.

The 50-page booklet, available in English and French, is the result of a partnership between Parkinson Society Canada and the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction. The author, Dr. Ronald Postuma is a researcher in neurosciences at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) in Montreal.

Postuma says that the booklet is intended to help people with Parkinson’s identify their non-motor symptoms, record what they are experiencing using the Non-Motor Symptoms Questionnaire at the back of the booklet, and discuss these symptoms with their doctor. He cautions it is not intended to replace the advice or instruction of a professional healthcare practitioner, or to substitute medical care.Citing a typical example, Dr. Postuma says a man with Parkinson’s may present with a urinary problem that is initially thought to be a prostate issue when, in fact, it may be related to Parkinson’s. “Many patients do not realize that urinary problems, constipation, insomnia and other symptoms are linked to Parkinson’s disease. As a result, they go untreated,” says Postuma who is also a neurologist at the MUHC and an Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. “The booklet is a simple, pragmatic tool that I hope will improve patient care,” he added.

“This is an excellent example of the practical application of evidenced-based research that benefits clinical care,” says Joyce Gordon, President  & CEO, Parkinson Society Canada.

A Guide to the Non-Motor Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease is available at

Parkinson Society Canada’s national research program is dedicated to improving the quality of life for Canadians living with Parkinson’s. Its 10 regional partners and 240 chapters and support groups, have been providing education, support, and advocacy on behalf of over 100,000 Canadians living with Parkinson’s since 1965. To learn more visit

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada’s health research investment agency. CIHR’s mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 14,100 health researchers and trainees across Canada.