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Can Stress Bring On Parkinson’s Disease

Other Complementary Therapies For Anxiety In Pd

Ask the MD: Depression and Anxiety in Parkinson’s Disease

Complementary therapies are a growing group of treatments which may improve the symptoms of PD without medication. I have written past blogs on two complementary therapy approaches for several symptoms of PD art therapy and music therapy.

Various complementary therapy modalities have been developed that may lower stress and anxiety in PD. These include yoga, massage, the Alexander technique, neurofeedback and others. Some of these therapies have been studied in small trials with data suggesting that they may be helpful for the anxiety of PD. Others have not yet been studied, although anecdotally, people with PD may feel that they are very useful in combatting anxiety. In general, this group of therapies may be effective for the anxiety of PD but needs to be studied more rigorously.

Tip #: The Journey Continues

Stay curious and engaged. It feels easier at times to withdraw from the world, but your presence can still make a difference and your new-found status can act as a source of inspiration to others. Even this cloud can have a silver lining and you may discover new opportunities, like being invited by Michael Okun and Indu Subramanian to write for this blog!

To read more books and articles by Michael S. Okun MD check on and these websites with blogs and information on his books and #Livingwith Parkinsons #EndingPD #Parkinsonsecrets #LessonsFromTheBedside

He also serves as the Medical Advisor for the Parkinsons Foundation.

To see more on Dr. Indu Subramanian she does live interviews of experts in Parkinsons for the PMD Alliance. ;

Does Parkinsons Disease Worsen

By Natalie Hodge 9 am on April 24, 2019

The characteristics of Parkinsons are progressive, and over time, the disease will worsen. There are steps seniors can take to slow the progression of the disease and the ailments it causes. Below are some of the things that cause Parkinsons to worsen and what can be done to address each issue.

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Genetic Causes Of Parkinsons Disease

Although the genetic causes of PD can only account for a few percentage of patients with genes and genetic loci dysfunctions, early stress exposures usually predispose to depression, prompt or worsen motor symptoms in PD . The genetic origin of PD mostly includes mutations in -synuclein, parkin phosphatase and tensin homologue -induced putative kinase 1 , leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 and DJ-1 genes . Mutations of these genes can result in abnormal protein accumulation, -synuclein aggregates, protein phosphorylation, mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress which is the most common pathway to cell death in PD pathogenesis . As exposure to stress early in life is known to alter both the behavior and physiology in certain brain areas, it is accepted that genetic changes associated with PD are in part the result of alterations in gene expression in these brain areas also affecting the stress response system .

What Happens To The Body At A Neural Level When Exposed To Uncontrollable Stress

Free Download: Stress and Parkinson

The mechanisms at the neural level due to stress may be quite alarming-

Nerve Degeneration: It has been seen that chronic stress can degenerate the nigrostriatal nerves. This is particularly common who cannot seem to work out their coping mechanisms.

HPA Hormones: Extreme amount of stress for prolonged period may lead to activation of the certain hormones like the HPA which eventually leads to inconsistent coping mechanisms.

These cases of stress related damages in the bodily activities like the striatal damage results in decreased motor abilities which is a major symptom of Parkinsons disease.

High Levels of Glucocortisoles: Extreme levels of stress are seen to reduce the motor performance level due to high levels of glucocortisoles.

Loss of Nigral Neurons: Research studies have also proven that high levels of corticosterone may at times lead to loss of nigral neurons which may be permanent.

Extreme stressful situations may also lead to a reduction in the secretion of dopamine. The decreased dopamine levels are responsible for bringing the symptoms of Parkinsons disease come to action.

Neurodegenerative Diseases: Stressful life events and situations characterized by extreme levels of stress bring the neurodegenerative diseases come into play, Parkinsons disease being a major one in it.

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What Diseases And Conditions Resemble Parkinsons Disease

PD is the most common form of parkinsonism, in which disorders of other causes produce features and symptoms that closely resemble Parkinsons disease. Many disorders can cause symptoms similar to those of PD, including:

Several diseases, including MSA, CBD, and PSP, are sometimes referred to as Parkinsons-plus diseases because they have the symptoms of PD plus additional features.

In very rare cases, parkinsonian symptoms may appear in people before the age of 20. This condition is called juvenile parkinsonism. It often begins with dystonia and bradykinesia, and the symptoms often improve with levodopa medication.

Can Parkinsons Disease Be Brought On By Stress

Stress in todays times is the key to all form of physical exhaustion along with mental strain. It has been confirmed that extreme psychological stress like an instance of a holocaust has a definite association with Parkinsons disease. Research studies with respect to ex-prisoners of war prove the presence of significant instance of having Parkinsons disease after a long time of their release. Thus with the recent research and significant associations scientists and authors do speculate the importance of the role of stress in Parkinsons disease.

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Anxiety As An Early Warning Sign

It may be that anxiety disorders that are diagnosed as much as two decades before Parkinsons disease may be a harbinger of the disease, says Gregory Pontone, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Movement Disorders Psychiatry Clinic. Parkinsons disease, like Alzheimers disease, has what experts call a long approach, he says, and anxiety may be part of that long approach.

One theory is that the anxiety that comes before Parkinsons results from the same underlying changes in brain chemistry and circuitry. Others believe that Parkinsons disease and anxiety share a common genetic risk factor. Either way, taking a closer look at the link can help doctors understand the causes of Parkinsons and treat patients with the disease.

Psychological Stress As A Risk Factor For Parkinson’s Disease

Depression & Anxiety in Parkinson’s and How to Manage Them

Objective/Rationale:;All persons experience psychological stress. In fact, its pervasiveness is the primary cause of countless diseases. Although the impact of psychological stress on Parkinsons disease has yet to be fully defined, there is ample evidence that PD symptoms worsen during times of stress. Therefore, we asked what would happen if a pre-clinical model with a known genetic vulnerability to PD was subjected to chronic psychological stress.

Project Description:;In order to address this question, we will subject two types of pre-clinical model to chronic psychological stress beginning two days after birth and ending at the end of adolescence. Three months after the final day of stress we will examine cell death in brain structures affected by PD.

Relevance to Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinsons Disease:;;Discovering that psychological stress may be a risk factor for PD would be an enormously important finding that may, in part, explain how people across different cultures, environments, etc., eventually develop PD. This observation, coupled with future studies, may indentify a common mechanism shared by the majority of PD patients that can be translated to early diagnostics and new therapeutics.

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Can Ptsd Lead To Dementia

Posttraumatic stress disorder is associated with up to a twofold increased risk of dementia, new research shows. Investigators found that individuals with PTSD had a 61% higher risk of dementia, and pooled data from two particular studies showed that PTSD was associated with a doubling of dementia risk.

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Cerebral Effects Of Chronic Stress In Pd

As outlined earlier, chronic stress influences the brain both at the systems level and at the molecular level . Through these changes, chronic stress may affect PD brains by increasing the susceptibility to depressive and anxiety disorders, while also potentially impacting the already injured dopaminergic nigrostriatal system in patients with PD. Although this remains highly speculative at this stage, the following mechanisms may contribute to these effects.

FIG. 2

Another way in which stress might influence PD disease progression is by depleting compensatory mechanisms. In PD, clinical symptoms usually become apparent when >50% of dopaminergic cells are lost. This suggests that compensatory mechanisms must take place in the early phase of PD to prevent overt clinical symptoms. These compensatory mechanisms are thought to take place both in the striatal dopamine system and at the level of large-scale brain networks. Under stressful conditions, the residual dopaminergic function is compromised, and attentional resources are depleted, in a similar way as dual tasking does. This may âunmaskâ clinical symptoms that were not seen before or increase the severity of already manifest symptoms.

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Doing More Of What You Dont

Parkinsons is progressive and requires continuing adaptation . That doesnt have to mean giving things up altogether, but it may mean having to find novel solutions to allow you to keep doing it. In my case, I shifted from face-to-face work to tele-health. It also gave me more flexibility around what times I worked in the day, the Uber model of psychiatry you could say.

Anxiety A Risk Factor For Dementia


Of the body of research examined, only four studies focused on the desired topic; these studies accounted for potential confounders such as vascular and psychiatric conditions, and demographic factors.

The researchers were unable to carry out a pooled analysis of these four studies because they were designed so differently, but the authors mention that the methods used in the studies were reliable and their conclusions solid.

Additionally, the combined sample size of the four studies was large, including almost 30,000 people.

All four studies found a positive correlation between moderate to severe anxiety and later development of dementia: Clinically significant anxiety in midlife was associated with an increased risk of dementia over an interval of at least 10 years, write the researchers.

These findings suggest that anxiety may be an independent risk factor for late-onset dementia, excluding the anxiety that might represent the initial symptoms of dementia, write Gimson and colleagues.

The link between anxiety and dementia, the authors note, may be explained by the excessive stress response triggered by the mental health condition.

This abnormally high stress response might accelerate the aging process of brain cells, which, in turn, may speed up age-related cognitive decline.

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Pessimism And Anxiety Linked To Parkinson’s

Researchers See Connection Between Personality Traits and Development of Parkinson’s Disease

“This is the first study to show that people with high levels of an anxious or pessimistic personality are at higher risk for developing Parkinson’s disease up to several decades later,” says James Bower, MD, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and a researcher on the study.

The researchers followed nearly 5,000 men and women who took a standardized personality test between 1962 and 1965; 128 of them developed Parkinson’s disease over the next 35 to 40 years.

People who scored highest on anxiety scores were 60% more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those scoring lower, Bower says. And those who scored in the top 25% on the pessimism scale were 50% more likely to develop the progressive neurological disease, he tells WebMD.

The people who developed Parkinson’s disease had anxieties that go beyond common worries about what’s for dinner or job stress, Bower says. “These are the chronic worriers — the people who worry about things that most people never seem to worry about.”

Parkinson’s disease, a disorder that affects nerve cells in the part of the brain controlling muscle movement, is characterized by trembling, muscle rigidity, difficulty walking, and problems with balance and coordination. These symptoms generally develop after age 50, although the disease affects a small percentage of younger people as well.

An Integrated Review Of Psychological Stress In Parkinsons Disease: Biological Mechanisms And Symptom And Health Outcomes

Kim Wieczorek Austin

1Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing, 1100 East Leigh Street, Richmond, VA 23219, USA

2Virginia Commonwealth University Parkinsons and Movement Disorders Center and VCU Health Neuroscience, Orthopaedic, and Wellness Center, 11958 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23233, USA


1. Introduction

The unpredictable and debilitating nature of the symptoms associated with PD combined with the inability to halt or slow disease progression has the potential to result in psychological stress. Psychological stress is a complex phenomenon that involves cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and biological responses to events or experiences that are perceived as threatening . An individuals ability to cope with and adapt to psychological stress can be influenced by the number and significance of stressful events experienced within a given period of time, the degree to which stressors are perceived as threatening or harmless, and biological responses designed to promote adaptation . The inability to cope with or adapt to psychological stress has been associated with poorer symptom and health outcomes that may be relevant in PD. For example, in non-PD populations, significant relationships have been demonstrated between psychological stress and increased motor symptomology , pain , fatigue, , cognitive decline , and functional disability .

2. Methods

3. Results and Discussion

4. Conclusion


Competing Interests


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Comparing Multiple Sclerosis And Parkinsons Disease Causes

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the myelin, causing damage and thus exposing nerve fibers. Like many autoimmune diseases, the exact cause is unknown, but;environmental, immunologic, infectious,;and;genetic factors;have all been found to play a role in the onset of multiple sclerosis.

When certain nerve cells in the brain begin to die or break down that is what causes Parkinsons disease, but why this occurs is unclear. Some factors that contribute to nerve cell death include genetics as specific gene mutations have been identified to contribute to Parkinsons disease, environmental factors such as exposure to certain toxins, the presence of Lewy bodies in the brain as well as alpha-synuclein found in Lewy bodies.

Psychological And Physiological Anxiety Measures

Pain and Fatigue in Parkinson Disease – 2019 Parkinson Educational Symposium

Repeated measures ANOVA indicated a significant effect on phase and group × phase interaction for VAMS anxiety factor . However, no difference was found between the groups . With regard to other VAMS factors, there was a significant effect of phase on mental sedation , physical sedation , and other feelings . However, there were no significant effects of these parameters on group × phase interaction and the groups.

Figure 1

Repeated measures ANOVA showed a significant effect of phase on heart rate without differences between the groups or group × phase interaction. Moreover, there were no differences in systolic or diastolic blood pressure between the phases, groups, or group × phase interaction.

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How Can People Cope With Parkinson’s Disease

While PD usually progresses slowly, eventually daily routines may be affectedfrom socializing with friends to earning a living and taking care of a home. These changes can be difficult to accept. Support groups can help people cope with the diseases emotional impact. These groups also can provide valuable information, advice, and experience to help people with PD, their families, and their caregivers deal with a wide range of issues, including locating doctors familiar with the disease and coping with physical limitations. A list of national organizations that can help people locate support groups in their communities appears at the end of this information. Individual or family counseling may also help people find ways to cope with PD.

People with PD may also benefit from being proactive and finding out as much as possible about the disease in order to alleviate fear of the unknown and to take a positive role in maintaining their health. Many people with PD continue to work either full- or part-time, although they may need to adjust their schedule and working environment to accommodate their symptoms.

Karl Robb Shares His Personal Story

A few years ago, I faced a dark period in my life. My mother was dying of cancer and the stress I was experiencing seemed too overwhelming to control. My medicines were not working nearly as well and my positive attitude was waning. It all began to take a toll on my body.

One Sunday afternoon I was watching television when out of nowhere these thoughts started racing through my head. It was as if 200 channels were playing at once. The flashing images were dizzying and upsetting. My pulse raced and my heart pounded. I was terrified, thinking I was having a heart attack.

I tried my best to slow my mind with deep breathing, calming thoughts, soft music and meditation. Only after about 40 minutes of focusing on my breath and visualizing calming images was I able to return to a more serene state of mind.

Afterward I realized that the buildup of stress over the previous weeks from work, my mom’s death, and my own attitude led to the panic attack. Since this episode, I have learned how to better manage stress and to reduce the triggers that make me anxious. That was the first and only panic attack I have ever had.

Reducing stressors in life is not always easy. You might need to take a closer look at your life to find what needs to change. Sometimes just reducing the negative influences in your life can make a big difference. Here is what I do to reduce stress and overcome anxiety and what you can try, too.

Stay open-minded and resilient. This will help you handle adversity.

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