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    Last week I was lucky enough to be able to attend the 4th World Parkinson Congress (WPC) in beautiful Portland, Oregon! You can read about Part 1 of my adventure here. Here are some of the highlights starting from the afternoon of Thursday September 22nd, 2016.

  • After all the lectures from Wednesday and Thursday, by Thursday afternoon I was a bit lectured out so I took some time to explore some of the artwork World Parkinson Congress had to offer. Here are a few photos from the Parkinson’s Quilt Project:

  • Next, I went to give Dr. Becky Farley and her PWR! Team a hand with their PWR! Nexus demonstration. We had lots of fun getting people moving and grooving:

  • (Image Caption: Participants in the PWR! Nexus class in Wellness Way practice PWR! Rocking.)

    The last lecture of the day I attended was on mild cognitive impairment & apathy in people with Parkinson’s disease. According to Dr. Paul Krack, PhD, apathy is a lack of motivation which leads to decreased goal directed activity, cognition, and emotional resonance of goal-directed behaviors. Apathy is not the same as depression and it occurs in high prevalence in people with Parkinson's. The most frequent spontaneous complaint in people with apathy is fatigue - whether sleepiness or decrease in motivation. Apathy is not often focused on by the medical care team. If you think you or your family member is experiencing apathy, please discuss it further with your physician as there are treatment strategies available to help.

    That evening, I went to a PWR! Networking event and got to say hi to friends and colleagues from all over the country who are PWR! Trained. It was a blast seeing everyone again!

    On Friday, September 23rd I was starting to feel worn out! Phew! So that morning I took some mindfulness time and explored more of the artwork and the exhibit halls. The “Tree of Resilience” was a beautiful art piece where each leaf contained a quote from a person with Parkinson’s or their care partner.

  • Here is one of the leaves that caught my eye when I was exploring the Tree of Resilience:

  • (Image Caption: "It has changed the way I look at the world. I have to say that I am truly blessed. Because of my Parkinson's disease, my relationships with my family and friends have strengthened and I have learned to not take a single day for granted." Allison Smith, Age 38, USA, Living with Young Onset Parkinson's.)

    I also had the opportunity to see Les Anderson’s “This Is Parkinson’s” exhibit. I love his video (and had previously included it in this blog post about perceptions and Parkinson’s disease) so was excited to see it in person! The exhibit did not disappoint.

  • I also checked out the research posters and, low and behold, saw YumaBev of Parkinson’s Humor fame manning a poster about her blog! It was great to finally meet her in person after Tweeting with her for so long.

  • That afternoon, I attended the “Exercise as Treatment” lecture series which reiterated the critical importance of exercise for people with Parkinson’s disease. You’ve got to “Use it or Lose it” and “Use it and Improve It” folks!

    As part of that lecture, Dr. Gammon Earhart, PT, PhD. presented her 8 ways to integrate exercise into your life:

    1. Set realistic expectations - educate yourself about exercise because you will benefit!
    2. Be confident in your ability to engage in exercise (self-efficacy)
    3. Ask an expert - consult your physical therapist and physician for individualized programs
    4. Schedule your exercise and dedicate your time (ex. Be well rested, exercise when your medications are working best)
    5. Break exercise down into chunks if needed (ex. 10 minutes at a time)
    6. Exercise in a group or with a partner instead of alone - you have more accountability this way!
    7. Technology is your friend - consider using a calendar, setting a phone reminder, using an exercise app, etc.
    8. Make exercise FUN. What do you like to do? Find out, then engage in it long term!

    The last lecture I attended was on technology and Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Ray Dorsey, MD talked about telemedicine (care at a distance) and Parkinson’s, which was of particular interest to me as I am adding a telemedicine service to my practice within the next few weeks. A recent large scale telemedine trial for people with Parkinson’s was found to be feasible and participants reported high quality of care, convenience, and comfort with the virtual house calls. Self-tracking Parkinson’s symptoms with technology was also discussed. Finger tapping apps, activity trackers, uBiome, 23 & me, and Muse were mentioned as some ways people with Parkinson’s can help self track between physician visits. As speaker and person with Parkinson’s Sara Riggare said, “You spend about 1 hour per year in neurologic health care. What do you do with the other 8765 hours? Spend some of them in self care!”

    Then, it was time to pack up and rush to the airport, but not before I waved goodbye to the WPC mascot!

  • Phew! What a conference! I'm glad to be home, but I can’t wait for World Parkinson Congress #5 in Japan.

  • (Image caption: View from my plane as I flew over the Bay Bridge on my return flight home from 4th World Parkinson's Conference)

    Keep thriving,

    -Theresa