Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder caused by low levels of dopamine, a brain chemical that helps control movement.

Low levels of dopamine result from loss of the dopamine-producing cells of the brain, the exact cause of which is unknown. Many theories have been proposed, but this is currently believed to occur from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. 

At the Chase Family Movement Disorders Center, we are experts in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The program is 
one of the
first Comprehensive Care Centers designated by the Parkinson’s Foundation’s prestigious Global Care Network. As part of this network, our clinicians can work with colleagues from other highly regarded institutions to advance patient care and improve the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s disease.


The main symptoms of Parkinson's disease are slowness of movement, tremors, stiff muscles and problems with balance or walking. Symptoms differ from person to person. In time, the disease can affect muscles throughout your body, and can lead to symptoms such as trouble swallowing, handwriting changes, and loss of facial expression. There are also what are referred to as non-motor problems, such as sleep difficulties, low blood pressure, confusion or constipation.

Screening & Diagnosing Parkinson’s disease

Your doctor will ask questions about your symptoms and your past health and will do a neurological exam. This exam checks to see how well your nerves are working. There are no lab or blood tests that can diagnose Parkinson's, but at Hartford HealthCare’s Chase Family Movement Disorders Center, we are one of the most active institutions in the Northeast offering a skin biopsy that helps make the diagnosis.Your doctor may also order other tests to check for other possible causes of your symptoms.

DaTscan SPECT is an imaging technology that assesses the brain’s dopamine levels and can detect Parkinson’s disease in the early stages. It can tell the difference between Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor or drug-induced Parkinsonism, a clinical syndrome that can cause Parkinson’s-like symptoms.


Treating Parkinson’s disease

At this time, there is no cure for Parkinson's disease. Medicines can help control the symptoms, but some people do not require treatment if symptoms are mild. You may be referred to occupational, physical, or speech therapy to help you function better. Other treatment options may include deep brain stimulation, or Botulinum toxin injections. Exercise can greatly improve the quality of life for Parkinson’s patients. Cycling, dance, boxing and tai chi have been shown to be beneficial.

New, cutting-edge treatment

High Intensity Focused Ultrasound

Patients return home tremor free after a two-hour incisionless, outpatient procedure

In August 2024, Hartford HealthCare will be first in the state of Connecticut, and the fourth institution in all of New England, to offer high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), a non-invasive procedure for patients with essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease [tremor]. Ideal for patients that have not responded optimally to medications, and are either not candidates for or fearful of undergoing surgery, focused ultrasound uses sound waves to treat specific areas of the brain that induce the most troublesome symptoms of their condition. The ultrasound is applied while the patient is in an MRI machine enabling the neurosurgeon to precisely monitor and confirm where the energy is delivered.

The two-hour outpatient procedure doesn’t require surgical incisions or anesthesia, thus minimizing potential side effects, and many patients experience immediate and significant reduction in hand tremors and other symptoms which may have impaired their activities of daily living. It does not require any implants or long-term maintenance.

Learn more about treatments we offer >>

Parkinson's Disease Videos

New Hope for Patients with Parkinson's, Essential Tremors

Hartford HealthCare recently became the first in Connecticut to offer the latest in Deep Brain Stimulation (DPS) technology. Dr. Patrick Senatus is the medical director of DBS at Hartford HealthCare's Ayer Neuroscience Institute.

Parkinson’s Disease News

April 12, 2023

Ultrasound Technology Can Quiet Parkinson’s Symptoms

Ultrasound makes you think babies, but a new use for the technology can quiet the tremors of Parkinson’s disease and [...]

February 14, 2023

Safely Beat the Weather – And Parkinson’s Disease – This Winter

Exercise helps everyone feel better, but when you have Parkinson’s disease, staying active is one of the best ways to [...]

February 13, 2023

Finding Purpose With Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s disease is just part of who Doe Hentschel is these days – and she’s determined to give others with [...]

February 13, 2023

Parkinson’s: Support for Patients and Caretakers

Parkinson’s disease also brings changes to the lives of those closest to the patient, so providers should provide caregivers them [...]

February 13, 2023

A New Tool to Improve Parkinson’s Symptoms Faster

New technology is key to understanding the electrical signals in the brain so patients with Parkinson’s disease see symptoms improve [...]

July 07, 2022

Chase Family Movement Disorders Center 1 of Only 15 Globally to Receive Parkinson’s Designation

The Chase Family Movement Disorders Center, part of the Hartford HealthCare Ayer Neuroscience Institute, was added to the prestigious Parkinson’s [...]

Meet our Parkinson’s Disease Specialists:

Michelle Dagostine



Medical Group Chase Family Movement Disorders Center
Cheshire, CT 06410
Joy Antonelle de Marcaida



Medical Group Chase Family Movement Disorders Center
Vernon, CT 06066
Benjamin Dorfman



Medical Group Chase Family Movement Disorders Center at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital
Torrington, CT 06790
James Duffy



Medical Group Chase Family Movement Disorders Center
Mystic, CT 06355
Anna Dzilenski



Medical Group Chase Family Movement Disorders Center
Cheshire, CT 06410
Paul Fidrych



Medical Group The Ayer Neuroscience Institute
Norwich, CT 06360
Barry Gordon



Medical Group The Ayer Neuroscience Institute
Meriden, CT 06451
Christopher Hillery



Medical Group Chase Family Movement Disorders Center
Mystic, CT 06355
Lauren Just



Medical Group Chase Family Movement Disorders Center
Cheshire, CT 06410
Zara Khan



Medical Group Spine Wellness Center
Spine Wellness Center
Westport, CT 06880

Movement Center

Conditions We Treat

Chase Family Movement Disorders Center

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    Fax: 860.870.0625

  • Clínica Hispana del Centro de Trastornos del Movimiento Chase Famil

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    Fax: 860.870.0625

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