Frontline Feedback: A Filmmaker and Patient’s Perspective – Presentation Video Available Online at BUniverse

July 1st, 2010

On April 14, 2010 Frontline Producer David Iverson presented “Frontline Feedback: A Filmmaker and Patient’s Perspective” at Boston University College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College .  Please CLICK HERE to watch the video of this special presentation on BUniverse.

Fourth Annual Boston University Parkinson Disease (PD) Forum held April 7, 2010 at Photonics Center

April 15th, 2010


Faculty, students, scientists, clinicians, and staff from across Boston University met for a day long program to share information on the work that is being done in Parkinson’s disease. Dr’s Ben Wolozin and Marie Saint-Hilaire welcomed their colleagues, promising a day of sharing information from very exciting projects and collaborations ongoing.

Presentations included work being done in both the basic science and clinical areas. Faculty and students also had an opportunity to present recent posters describing their work. A special highlight of the day included a presentation by a physician with Parkinson’s disease. Participants were able to hear first hand some of the problems a person with Parkinson’s experiences related to both the disease process and treatment.

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Kirsten Carlson, PhD, a scientist with the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJF) provided a comprehensive overview of the significant work being done to fulfill the foundations aggressive mission of discovery – leading to better treatments and a cure. She discussed ongoing MJF research projects. She also introduced methods in place for researchers to communicate ideas and share information through a web program “PD Online Research”.  Participants had ample opportunity to ask questions and share ideas.

At the end of the day, program planners provided a recap of the day’s presentations with an opportunity for informal discussion. Interested members of Boston University’s alumni group were invited to attend and participate in this discussion.

The PD forum planning team included Ben Wolozin, Marie Saint-Hilaire, Cathi Thomas, and Ray James. This program was supported by the American Parkinson Disease Association Advanced Center of Excellence. Special thanks to our distinguished presenters.

Please click here for the program agenda.

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Edmond J. Safra Foundation funds BUMC Parkinson’s Disease Educational Program for Nursing Faculty

March 18th, 2010

Recognizing the important role nurses play in the care of patients and families affected by Parkinson’s disease the Edmond J. Safra Foundation has awarded a grant to the Boston University/Boston Medical Center Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder’s Center to provide a unique and comprehensive program to area Nursing Faculty.

Up to five nursing faculty will be selected after application to participate in this one week course which will take place the week of June 21st. Faculty will receive a combination of clinical patient and family exposure, small group lectures/discussions, and the opportunity to work on a Parkinson’s disease independent project. Content will cover signs and symptoms of PD, diagnosis, medical management, role of nursing, surgical management and follow-up, nursing research in Parkinson’s disease, basic science and clinical research, resources and family care.  Cathi A.Thomas, MS, RN, CNRN is the BUMC host program director. She will be joined by other members of the Boston University Parkinson team across disciplines to provide a “state of the art” educational and collaborative program.   

This Visiting Nursing Faculty (VNF) program was developed and successfully piloted in 2009 by Gwyn Vernon MSN, CRNP and Lisette Bunting-Perry, PhD(c), RN at the University of Pennsylvania. This year Boston University and Johns Hopkins University will join the University of Pennsylvania in offering this program.

For additional information please call 617-638-7737 or e-mail

Special Parkinson Educational Symposium and Webinar for Nurses

March 18th, 2010

It is with great excitement that I announce an upcoming educational symposium and webcast program Parkinson’s Disease Across the Lifespan: A Roadmap for Nurses. This program is a collaboration of the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA), National Parkinson Foundation (NPF), and the Parkinson Disease Foundation (PDF).  The program will take place on Friday, May 21, 2010.
Please visit where you can find additional details and register to attend in-person or via the Internet. A committee made up of nurses and one physical therapist has worked hard during the past year to provide a very comprehensive program.  I am pleased to be part of this committee and program.
The program is designed for nurses delivering care to Parkinson individuals and families in all clinical settings, but particularly for nurses who have not had the chance to formally learn about caring for people with Parkinson’s but who want to learn more. We hope to include nurses who provide care in long-term care, home care, acute care, rehabilitation, and clinic settings. Nurses play an important role in the care of a person and family affected by Parkinson’s disease – please help us get the word out and share with a nurse you know.

Sincerely yours,

Cathi Thomas, MS,RN, CNRN

APDA Launches First-of-its-Kind Parkinson’s Rehab Resource Center

January 14th, 2010

The 1-888-606-1688 “helpline” will connect callers with Boston University licensed physical therapists

NEW YORK, Jan. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Helping people who have Parkinson’s disease (PD) access information on exercise recommendations, the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) and Boston University have established the country’s first National Resource Center for Rehabilitation. The center’s toll-free “helpline” telephone number is 1-888-606-1688, and callers will be able to speak with a licensed physical therapist who can answer questions about exercise, provide information about programs in the caller’s area and provide educational materials.

“Almost a decade ago, APDA successfully led the fight to secure physical therapy coverage for people with PD on Medicare,” said Joel Gerstel, executive director of the country’s largest grassroots organization serving America’s 1.5 million people diagnosed with the progressive, degenerative neurological disease.

“At the time, the benefits of exercise and physical therapy were under recognized, but today, exercise has proven a valuable tool in maintaining a healthy lifestyle for people with disease. APDA is again in the forefront by making free physical-exercise information readily available to patients, their caregivers and healthcare professionals across the country,” Gerstel said.      

“Evidence supporting the benefits of exercise for people with Parkinson’s disease is growing,” said Terry Ellis, PT, PhD, a leader in neurological physical therapy research, and the new center’s director.

Dr. Ellis is a clinical associate professor in the department of physical therapy and athletic training at the College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College. The new resource is an outgrowth of the Center for Neurorehabilitation’s Community Wellness Programs, which are exercise programs designed to improve mobility, quality of life and communications for persons with PD. These programs have benefited more than 400 people in 14 New England communities.

Dr. Marie Saint Hilaire, director of the APDA Center for Advanced Research at Boston University, points out the importance of exercise in the management of Parkinson’s disease.  “Exercise helps to improve quality of life and day-to-day function in people with Parkinson’s disease,” said Dr. Saint Hilaire, who recommends that patients with PD consult with a physical therapist early in the disease process in order to reap the benefits right from the start.

Vlad Lyczmanenko, president of APDA’s Massachusetts Chapter, which is co-funding the center, said that his chapter strongly supports the initiative. “It is imperative that people with PD are first motivated to exercise and then have access to professionals who can help them with practical information about how to exercise correctly for their particular needs.”

Cathi Thomas, coordinator of the APDA Information & Referral Center at Boston University’s Medical Campus, noted the value to other healthcare providers and said the center will maintain updated lists of community rehabilitation specialists.

“Our objective is to share this knowledge with patients, caregivers, students and healthcare professionals,” said Dr. Ellis. “This partnership with APDA, also known for its pioneering efforts in physical therapy, will give anyone interested an easy, free pathway to the most up-to-date information.”  

About APDA – –  With the unique dual mission to “Ease the Burden – Find the Cure,” APDA provides support and educational programs for people with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers, and funds scientific research to find the cause(s) and cure for the progressive, degenerative neurological disease. APDA is the country’s largest grassroots organization serving America’s 1.5 million persons with PD.

About Boston University: The Center for Neurorehabilitation has a single goal to advance the quality of rehabilitation for those with neurological disorders.   The Center offers Physical Therapy, Community Wellness Groups, educational programs and hope for a better quality of life through research-driven improvements in therapy.  We’re a team of researchers, clinicians and educators with expertise in rehabilitation and movement science. Seldom do clinical practice, advanced research and community programs integrate so well or with such immediate benefits to patients. 
SOURCE American Parkinson Disease Association


Parkinson’s Disease Family Caregiver Series to be held February 9, 16, & 23, 2010

January 7th, 2010

Please join us for an educational program designed for family caregivers.

For additional information, please Click Here for the event brochure.

Social Worker Joins Parkinson’s Disease & Movement Disorders Center

January 7th, 2010

Dr. Marie Saint-Hilaire, Medical Director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Center is pleased to welcome social worker, Allyson Litos Gormley. She recently joined the center’s team at Boston University/Boston Medical Center effective January 4th, 2010. “Having a dedicated social worker will enhance our delivery of care,” says Dr. Saint-Hilaire. Cathi Thomas, the center’s program director, welcomes this opportunity to not only provide support to our patient population but also expand much needed support to family caregivers.

Ms. Gormley’s practice will include patient and family counseling, and resource management for individuals affected by Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and other movement disorders. She received a Bachelor of Science in Human Science and Service from the University of Rhode Island and a Master of Social Work from the Boston University School of Social Work. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. For additional information or to schedule an appointment please call (617) 638-7747 or (617) 638-8456.

Inosine Research Study in Parkinson’s Disease

July 28th, 2009

Parkinson’s Disease Drug Study

Do you have:
* Tremors or shaking?
* Slowed movements?
* Small handwriting?
* Stiffness?
* Poor balance or problems walking?

All of these may be symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

You may qualify for a PD drug study if you:

* Were diagnosed with PD within the last 3 years or if you are experiencing some of the above symptoms
* Are not currently taking medication for your PD
* Do not have a history of gout or kidney stones

Eligible participants will receive study-related evaluations, laboratory tests, and the investigational drug at no cost.  For more information about this study, please contact:Boston University Medical Center  Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Center at 617-638-7737 or 617-638-7745.

IRB # H-28452

Coenzyme Q10 Research Study for Parkinson’s Disease Patients

July 2nd, 2009

Coenzyme Q10 Research Study for Parkinson’s Disease Patients

IRB H-27250

There is a clinical study of the research medication Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) in persons 30 years of age or older who have early stage Parkinson’s disease. The purpose of this research study is to find out whether CoQ can slow the progression of early Parkinson’s Disease.

Those diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease within the last 5 years and are not yet receiving treatment for their symptoms may be eligible. Study doctors will follow participants every four months over a 16-month period.

There is no cost to participate in the study. Persons with early stage Parkinson’s disease who are interested in participating in this study should contact the Boston University Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Center at 617-638-7737.

Parkinson’s Disease : A Guide to Patient Care co-authored by Boston University Department of Neurology faculty member

July 2nd, 2009

Parkinson’s Disease : A Guide to Patient Care 
Paul Tuite, MD, Cathi Thomas RN, MS, Laura Ruekert, PharmD, RPh, and Hubert Fernandez, MD
Springer Publishing Company, 2009

This book designed for allied healthcare professionals, including nurses, rehabilitation specialists and social workers, is a quick, easily organized referencecovering all aspects of managing Parkinson’s disease. The book is divided into four sections: Problems, Evaluation, Treatment Strategies and Appendices.

July 1, 2010
Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine