Why Do Non-Motor Symptoms Matter?  An Intro to Dysautonomia and PD

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Why Do Non-Motor Symptoms Matter? An Intro to Dysautonomia and PD

This is a virtual event with David Goldstein, MD, PhD, National Institutes of Health

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About this event

  • 1 hour
  • Mobile eTicket

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is widely known as a progressive brain disease that results from a loss of dopamine, leading to a variety of familiar motor symptoms (slow movement, tremors, stiffness). Furthermore, it is no surprise to people with PD that numerous non-motor symptoms (constipation, loss of smell, acting out dreams, fatigue) also accompany this disease. However, these non-motor symptoms have long been considered less serious, less important, and have received less attention.

This emphasis is now changing. Instead of focusing on the brain, David Goldstein, MD, PhD, Director of the Autonomic Medicine Section at the National Institutes of Health, and his team have identified the degeneration of the Autonomic Nervous System (including non-motor disorders) as a second essential component of PD. Numerous other researchers have also advanced our understanding of these non-motor problems. It is now recognized that the damage that PD causes to peripheral nerves affects such vital functions as breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure and can lead to serious consequences for PD patients. In fact, disruption of the autonomic nervous system and accompanying symptoms may occur long before any of the typical PD motor symptoms and may ultimately lead to greater disability and death. Over the past 25 years, Parkinson’s research has increasingly focused on these non-motor disorders and has begun to recognize their prevalence and seriousness.

Dr. David Goldstein (Section Head of Autonomic Medicine at NIH), our first presenter in the Dysautonomia series, has been a leader in Dysautonomia research for many years. He began his medical career after receiving an M.D.-Ph.D. in Behavioral Sciences from Johns Hopkins. He then completed his medical residency at the University of Washington. In 1984, he accepted a research position at NIH and has been there ever since in a variety of research capacities. He is author of more than 600 research articles and several books, including a remarkable e-book Principles of Autonomic Medicine. He is dedicated to promoting greater understanding of Dysautonomia among clinicians as well as patients and caregivers.

This is a four-part series that will examine the profound impact of Dysautonomia on morbidity, mortality, and quality of life in Parkinson’s patients, and the current status of research on the causes and strategies for managing it. Looking ahead: The second event is March 9th where Dr. David Goldstein returns.

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