Originally Published: November 13, 2012 9:13 p.m.
The article by Drs. Paul Donohue and Keith Roach about Parkinson's disease in your feature section of Oct. 26 fails to respond meaningfully to the questions asked. Evidently, neither doctor is a neurologist because the advice offered is out-dated and misleading. It is incorrect to suggest patients live an average number of years after diagnosis. The doctors should have been more encouraging by saying with the help of several new medications a Parkinson's person can now expect to live as long as a person without the disease, barring pneumonia and fatal falls.
General neurologists have difficulty determining if a patient has Parkinson's. Upwards of 20 percent of initial diagnoses are in error. A clinical assessment is needed by a Parkinson's Movement Disorder Specialist to make a determination. Some neurologists prescribe a low dose of Sinemet (Carbidopa/Levodopa) the weapon of choice in the battle against the disease and if the patient responds well then it is generally assumed the patient has Parkinson's. One wonders why the article mentions two very old out-of-favor drugs when there are many new and more effective treatments including Mirapex, Requip, Zelapar, Azilect, Stalevo, Comtan and very recently the Neupro 24hour Patch.
There is growing evidence of defective genes in people with the disease suggesting that Parkinson's could be inherited.
In summary, the best advice to the family seeking information on Parkinson's is to join an active support group such as the Prescott Parkinson Support Group that provides information and lectures on Parkinson's at monthly meetings for 1 1⁄2 hours.
For details about the Support Group contact Kay Bolander at 778-2242 or Alan Richardson at 442 1380.