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1.  TESTING OBJECTIVE MEASURES OF MOTOR IMPAIRMENT IN EARLY PARKINSON’S DISEASE: FEASIBILITY STUDY OF AN AT-HOME TESTING DEVICE 
We tested the feasibility of a computer based at-home testing device (AHTD) in early-stage, unmedicated Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients over 6 months. We measured compliance, technical reliability, and patient satisfaction to weekly assessments of tremor, small and large muscle bradykinesia, speech, reaction/movement times, and complex motor control. relative to the UPDRS motor score. The AHTD is a 6.5 x 10 computerized assessment battery. Data are stored on a USB memory stick and sent by internet to a central data repository as encrypted data packets. Although not designed or powered to measure change, the study collected data to observe patterns relative to UPDRS motor scores. Fifty-two PD patients enrolled, and 50 completed the six month trial, 48 remaining without medication. Patients complied with 90.6% of weekly 30-minute assessments, and 98.5% of data packets were successfully transmitted and decrypted. On a 100-point scale, patient satisfaction with the program at study end was 87.2 (range 80–100). UPDRS motor scores significantly worsened over 6 months, and trends for worsening over time occurred for alternating finger taps (p=.08), tremor (p=.06) and speech (p=.11). Change in tremor was a significant predictor of change in UPDRS (p=0.047) and was detected in the first month of the study. This new computer-based technology offers a feasible format for assessing PD-related impairment from home. The high patient compliance and satisfaction suggest the feasibility of its incorporation into larger clinical trials, especially when travel is difficult and early changes or frequent data collection are considered important to document.
doi:10.1002/mds.22379
PMCID: PMC4161502  PMID: 19086085
2.  Motor and nonmotor complications in Parkinson’s disease: an argument for continuous drug delivery? 
Journal of Neural Transmission  2013;120(9):1305-1320.
The complications of long-term levodopa therapy for Parkinson’s disease (PD) include motor fluctuations, dyskinesias, and also nonmotor fluctuations—at least equally common, but less well appreciated—in autonomic, cognitive/psychiatric, and sensory symptoms. In seeking the pathophysiologic mechanisms, the leading hypothesis is that in the parkinsonian brain, intermittent, nonphysiological stimulation of striatal dopamine receptors destabilizes an already unstable system. Accordingly, a major goal of PD treatment in recent years has been the attainment of continuous dopaminergic stimulation (CDS)—or, less theoretically (and more clinically verifiable), continuous drug delivery (CDD). Improvements in the steadiness of the plasma profiles of various dopaminergic therapies may be a signal of progress. However, improvements in plasma profile do not necessarily translate into CDS, or even into CDD to the brain. Still, it is reassuring that clinical studies of approaches to CDD have generally been positive. Head-to-head comparative trials have often failed to uncover evidence favoring such approaches over an intermittent therapy. Nevertheless, the findings among recipients of subcutaneous apomorphine infusion or intrajejunal levodopa/carbidopa intestinal gel suggest that nonmotor PD symptoms or complications may improve in tandem with motor improvement. In vivo receptor binding studies may help to determine the degree of CDS that a dopaminergic therapy can confer. This may be a necessary first step toward establishing whether CDS is, in fact, an important determinant of clinical efficacy. Certainly, the complexities of optimal PD management, and the rationale for an underlying strategy such as CDS or CDD, have not yet been thoroughly elucidated.
doi:10.1007/s00702-013-0981-5
PMCID: PMC3751411  PMID: 23456290
Parkinson’s disease; Motor complications; Nonmotor fluctuations; Continuous drug delivery
3.  Levodopa/carbidopa/entacapone 200/50/200 mg (Stalevo® 200) in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease: a case series 
Cases Journal  2009;2:7134.
Levodopa continues to be the most efficacious and widely used treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Levodopa dosing is understood to be critical for the optimal control of symptoms, and increasing the levodopa dose is a common method to treat advancing disease. Escalating levodopa dosages coupled with disease progression is associated with increasing likelihood of developing levodopa-induced dyskinesia. Moreover, frequent and complicated dosing schemes, combined with limited dose availability, leads to increasing pill burden and its associated impairment of patient adherence issues. Levodopa/carbidopa/entacapone has been shown to improve the pharmacokinetic profile of levodopa and provide superior symptomatic control compared with conventional levodopa/dopa decarboxylase inhibitor therapy. We report four case histories describing clinical experience of using levodopa/carbidopa/entacapone 200/50/200 mg, one of the latest doses of this formulation, in a range of patients with Parkinson’s disease. These cases illustrate that levodopa/carbidopa/entacapone 200/50/200 mg provides improvements in symptomatic control and convenience, and that switching to this dose was not associated with safety concerns.
doi:10.4076/1757-1626-2-7134
PMCID: PMC2740140  PMID: 19829918
4.  Rivastigmine for the treatment of dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease 
Parkinson’s disease (PD) afflicts millions of people worldwide and leads to cognitive impairment or dementia in the majority of patients over time. Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD) is characterized by deficits in attention, executive and visuospatial function, and memory. The clinical diagnostic criteria and neuropathology surrounding PDD remain controversial with evidence of overlap among PDD, dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Cortical cholinergic deficits are greater in PDD than in AD, and are well-correlated with the cognitive and neuropsychiatric dysfunction that occurs in PDD. Inhibition of acetylcholine metabolism is therefore a practical therapeutic strategy in PDD.
This review examines current evidence for rivastigmine (a cholinesterase/butyrylcholinesterase inhibitor) treatment in PDD. In addition to its efficacy, we examine the safety profile, side effects, and cost effectiveness of rivastigmine in PDD. Rivastigmine provides modest benefit in PDD and further long-term studies are needed to determine the effectiveness and safety of rivastigmine over time. Tolerability is a problem for many PDD patients treated with rivastigmine. Future studies of rivastigmine in PDD should focus on pragmatic outcomes such as time to need for nursing home placement, pharmacoeconomic outcomes and simultaneous patient/caregiver quality of life assessments.
PMCID: PMC2656320  PMID: 19300613
Parkinson’s disease; dementia; rivastigmine; cholinesterase inhibitor

Results 1-4 (4)