Medical Rounds with Dr. Joy Antonelle de Marcaida

A diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is life-changing. But, there are a variety of new treatment therapies that allow patients to lead a fulfilling and productive life. As part of the Ayer Neuroscience Institute, Hartford HealthCare has developed the David & Rhoda Chase Family Movement Disorders Center. The Center is comprised of a group of specialists that provide individualized, coordinated care for patients living with Parkinson’s disease and other neurologic disorders.



Q: WHAT IS PARKINSON'S DISEASE?
A: Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that occurs most commonly in people 65 and older, affecting primarily the fluidity of movement. The diagnosis is made when a patient comes to the physician with complaints consistent with PD, and the examination shows a resting tremor, slowness of movement, rigidity of the muscles and changes in walking or balance typical of the disease.

Q: TELL US ABOUT THE CHASE FAMILY MOVEMENT DISORDERS CENTER?
A: Hartford Healthcare had a vision to develop a Neuroscience Institute that will offer state of the art services for a number of key neurologic conditions. For the Chase Family Movement Disorders Center, we are developing a program that will bring together the expertise of many other specialists and providers, not just a Parkinson's or movement disorders specialist, to offer an integrated comprehensive and more holistic approach to care. We will have everyone from psychologists, to nutritionists, physiatrists, social workers, psychiatrists, reiki practitioners, and even dance instructors as part of our team, because I believe that for a patient to do well, we need to address all their needs and concerns. My vision is to create a program that is truly driven solely by what my patients need. Thus, we are bringing together as many services as necessary, to make sure that we can take care of all our patients from diagnosis to hospice.

Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE NEW, NOVEL APPROACHES THAT YOU OFFER IN TREATING PARKINSON’S DISEASE?
A: My particular field of expertise and training is in Experimental Therapeutics in Movement Disorders, thus I have always maintained a strong interest in clinical research for Parkinson's disease, essential tremors, dystonia and Huntington's disease. In our program, we offer the opportunity to be part of leading-edge research in the field, as well as new options for treatment as they become available. I tell my patients that right now, I have 20 different medications for Parkinson's disease, and every couple of years, new treatment options come out. We have a lot to offer and great optimism that there is a lot more to come.

Q: YOU ALSO PROVIDE DANCE TO PATIENTS… HOW DOES THIS HELP WITH THEIR DISEASE?
A: The value of exercise for Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders has been documented in over 250 studies, more than half of which were published just in the last 5 years. The common finding has been that any form of exercise is potentially beneficial, but it needs to be done regularly and strenuously enough to increase basal heart rate. The beauty of dance as an exercise form for PD is that it incorporates the cardio benefits of exercise with flexibility, balance, and endurance components as well. Furthermore, there is a social aspect of dance, and a joyful expression to dancing that provides incomparable psychological and mental benefits beyond the physical. Lastly, music and rhythm itself has been used as therapy for Parkinson's disease, dementia and other neurodegenerative disorders, postulated to enhance neural activation, as well as assist in the mobility and balance issues common in these conditions. I am a particular fan of Argentine Tango as therapy for PD because partnered dancing is another aspect of dance as exercise that lends itself to other additional benefits.


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