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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Comprehensive Reference Book for Treatment of Parkinson's Disease Published by Houston VA Experts

February 14, 2008

HOUSTON – Parkinson’s disease experts at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) recently published Neurorehabilitation in Parkinson’s Disease: An Evidence-Based Treatment Model, a comprehensive theoretical and clinical reference for the treatment of patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Marilyn Trail, M.O.T., O.T.R. and Eugene C. Lai, M.D., Ph.D., along with Elizabeth Protas, P.T., Ph.D., interim dean, School of Health Sciences, University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and other internationally recognized experts, bring together the discussion of theoretical approaches with the actual clinical treatment of patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. The clinical case studies and vignettes highlight evidence-based practice and provide practitioners with clinically relevant tools for treatment.

In addition to providing comprehensive treatment models for occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech-language pathology, this book contains chapters devoted to psychosocial issues affecting patients with Parkinson’s disease, assistive technology specifically for patients with Parkinson’s disease, and home programs for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology that will be valuable aids for clinicians working with this patient population.

Trail is the co-associate director of Education for the Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center (PADRECC) at the MEDVAMC and an assistant professor of Neurology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. She received a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Occupational Therapy from Texas Woman’s University. She has years of experience mentoring graduate students in treatment of patients with Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in the clinical setting. Trail’s research interests concern quality of life and activity in Parkinson’s disease patients, and she is the principle investigator on several projects related to these issues.

Lai is the director of the PADRECC at the MEDVAMC and a professor of Neurology at Baylor College of Medicine.  He received a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin and has a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Washington. He then studied medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and completed his neurology residency training at Baylor College of Medicine-affiliated hospitals in Houston. He is a clinician-scientist who has special interests in the causes and treatments of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He also has expertise in the assessment of motor function and quality of life. Lai is the principal investigator or co-investigator of many clinical research studies. He has more than one hundred scientific publications and abstracts and has lectured widely on topics in neurodegenerative diseases.

The VA took a major step toward improving patient care and pursuing a cure for Parkinson’s disease by establishing six PADRECCs, one at the MEDVAMC in Houston. Operating as a national consortium, each PADRECC conducts research covering basic biomedicine, rehabilitation, health services delivery, and clinical trials.  Each is participating in a landmark clinical trial to assess the effectiveness of surgical implantation of deep brain stimulators in reducing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

The National Parkinson Foundation, Inc. estimates that up to 1.5 million Americans have Parkinson’s disease and that approximately 50,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. VA medical centers treat at least 40,000 Parkinson’s disease patients every year.

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