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Parkinson's Disease

Do you have Parkinson's Disease?

Parkinson's disease is a slowly progressive disorder of the brain which can cause tremor, rigidity, difficulty walking, imbalance and slowing down. Many other things can cause similar symptoms, so it is important to first speak with your primary care physician about your concerns.

Dr. Julia Staisch and Dr. David Houghton are specialty-trained neurologists and Colleen Knoop is a specialty-trained nurse practitioner in the field of movement disorders. Dominique Thomas is the movement disorders and Deep Brain Stimulation Program coordinator.

We see patients with Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, dystonia, restless leg syndrome, Huntington’s disease and Tourette’s syndrome, to name a few. We are named a Huntington’s Disease Society of America Center of Excellence and are a Parkinson’s Foundation Comprehensive Care Center Designation.

We also work in close collaboration with neurosurgery, neuropsychology and our allied health partners (physical, occupational and speech therapy) in several interdisciplinary clinics.

While there is still no cure for Parkinson's disease, management by a Parkinson's disease specialist often results in many years of good quality of life.

Levodopa remains the most effective medication available for the symptoms of Parkinson's. It can be found in the medications Sinemet, Parcopa and Stalevo (among others). However, because chronic use of levodopa can lead to a different kind of abnormal movement called "dyskinesia,'' many neurologists try to limit this medication as much as possible.

Depending on the symptoms of the patient and their other health problems, many other kinds of medications may be used. The most commonly used group besides levodopa are the "dopamine agonists" including ropinerole (Requip) and pramipexole (Mirapex).

Deep Brain Stimulation therapy can be used with medical therapy.

It is not a cure for Parkinson's disease, nor does it replace medications, but it can significantly improve the symptoms of Parkinson's in appropriate patients.

Neurosurgeons across the world are learning how to place the fine wire into the deep brain, but many do not work in close collaboration with a Parkinson's disease specialist. The involvement of the specialized neurologist in all steps of the procedure greatly effects the success of the surgery.

At Ochsner, only patients who have been seen and evaluated by a Parkinson's disease specialist (neurologist) and deemed appropriate candidates are referred for surgery. The neurologist is then present during the surgery for critical intra-operative testing. After surgery, the patient is followed closely in the neurology department for programming of the generator and optimizing medications.

The Ochsner Neuroscience Institute's 16th annual Parkinson's Disease Symposium sponsored by The Parkinson's Foundation takes place Saturday, June 15, 2024. Ochsner neurologists, physical therapists and other healthcare specialists will share insights and expertise on topics like Parkinson's disease research and symptoms, improving quality of life and caring for caregivers.

View the symposium agenda here.

Registration for this event is now closed.

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Map of Ochsner-affiliated facilities that provide services related to Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's Disease Locations

Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center
1214 Coolidge St.
Lafayette, LA 70503
  • Open 24/7
St. Tammany Parish Hospital
1202 S. Tyler St.
Covington, LA 70433
  • Open 24/7
Ochsner Medical Center – New Orleans
1514 Jefferson Highway
New Orleans, LA 70121
  • Open 24/7