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VA Parkinson's Disease Symposium Provides Insights into Research and Care

May 10, 2002

VA Parkinson's Disease Symposium Provides Insights into Research and Care
Released: 2002/05/10

Houston VA Medical Center Hosted Conference on May 10

HOUSTON, TX - More than 200 veterans, family members, health care providers, and community participants attended the first symposium sponsored by the Parkinson's Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center (PADRECC) at the Houston VA Medical Center (HVAMC) on May 10.

The symposium began with an overview of Parkinson's disease presented by Dr. Eugene C. Lai, Director of the HVAMC PADRECC and Associate Professor of Neurology at Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. Lai stated, "Although the cause of Parkinson's disease is still unknown, research continues to examine possible genetic and environmental links to the disease. There are many unanswered questions about Parkinson's disease, but with an accurate medical diagnosis and good care, patients with symptoms of Parkinson's disease can expect to live many years with a good quality of life."

Innovative surgical options, specifically deep brain stimulation, were discussed by Dr. Richard Simpson, Chief of Neurosurgery at the HVAMC and Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Simpson's presentation was accompanied by photo slides depicting the operative procedure.

The PADRECC, a division of the HVAMC Neurology Care Line, is participating in a landmark study to assess the effectiveness of surgical implantation of deep brain stimulation in reducing the symptoms of Parkinson's disease and improving the quality of life for veterans.

Next, several speakers addressed the physical and psycho-social concerns such as nutrition, nursing, rehabilitation, speech, coping, and cognition faced by those with Parkinson's disease. Veterans and health care providers actively participated during the question and answer portion of the panel discussions.

The symposium was entitled "Parkinson's Disease: New Discoveries in Research and Care" and was the first organized by the HVAMC. Event organizers Marilyn Trail and Naomi Nelson, Co-Associate Directors of Education for HVAMC PADRECC commented, "Overall, the feedback we received from participants was positive. Many asked about the date of the next conference and if they could bring additional family members. We plan to have more symposiums in the future."

The Houston PADRECC is one of six new VA "Centers of Excellence" specializing in research, education, and clinical care for veterans with Parkinson's disease and related movement disorders.

For further information about the Parkinson's Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center, contact Shawn Dowd at (713) 794-7841 or visit the PADRECC website at

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Point of Contact: VHAHOU Public Affairs

04/21/04 08:25