Almost everyone has heard about the importance of getting enough vitamin D to maintain good bone density and strength. One side of the health coin suggests spending time outside absorbing direct sunshine, while the other side warns about too much exposure and the very real concern of developing skin cancer. When blood tests reveal low vitamin D levels, physicians often prescribe vitamin D in pill form.
Quoting from an article released in the August 2019 Parkinson’s News Today:
“Some studies support that lack of vitamin D results in a greater risk of falls and fractures in Parkinson’s patients, which can increase hospitalization and even fatal disability. Its levels also have been associated with cognition and mood, as well as stomach malfunction in people with the disease. …People with lower vitamin D levels were more likely to fall and experience sleep problems, including difficulty in falling asleep (insomnia). They also had significantly more depression and anxiety.”
Read more here about the effect of low vitamin D levels on Parkinson’s non-motor symptoms. Discussions with one’s doctor, including requests for blood tests to monitor vitamin D levels, are another potential add-on life-management tool.
In a recent column that appears in Parkinson’s News Today on line, a regular contributor referred to as “Dr. C.” relates his experiences as he navigates his journey through life with Parkinson’s. From his latest column:
“I am a retired professor and research scientist, along with being an artist, philosopher, writer, therapist and mystic. I am also a husband, father, grandfather, master gardener and Vietnam Vet. All of these roles influence how PD interacts with my life’s journey. … The ability to shift perspective may improve our ability to adapt to stressful times and to become more resilient, and therefore more open to new possibilities. The shifting of perspective causes us to shift our focus to a new intention, a new possibility. I hated exercise, and my intention was to avoid it...”
Our 8-week percussion series, led by MedRhythmsmusic therapy instructor Stian Berg Hansen, focused not only on the drumming itself, but also on using rhythm to engage listening, memory, and motor coordination.
During earlier class practice, Stian had the group use alternating drumming hands and clapping movements. This wasn’t always easy at the outset of our time together, especially when Stian also added in having us increase and decrease speed and volume over the weeks that followed. But we improved regularly over time! We also learned how to use boomwhacker instruments, which are colorful plastic tubes of varying lengths and tones of the music scale. Eventually, we divided our circle into three separate sections, with each group of five or eight players beating a different rhythm. The end result?? A pretty rhythmic, integrated sound!
We were able to provide this most recent free music experience through the support of a community grant from the national Parkinson’s Foundation and the generous use of space provided by the Danvers YMCA. From the alternating facial expressions of both focus and smiles, we feel the program was well received by the participants and their care partners!
Excerpting from a June 19, 2019 Parkinson’s News Today article by Catarina Silva: According to a study of zebra fish, not getting enough sleep may cause memory defects and emotional changes due to changes in dopamine metabolism. (Sleep Deprivation Caused Memory Defects and Emotional Changes in a Rotenone-based Zebra fish Model of Parkinson’s Disease”, published in Behavioural Brain Research.)
Researchers wrote: “In addition tocognitive and emotional disorders, sleep abnormalities are also prevalent in Parkinson’s disease. The problem of sleep is not only the characteristics of the disease itself, but also related to medication and dyskinesia such as tremor and rigidity.”
Sleep is an essential physiological process, and lack or shortage of sleep time causes fatigue, increase of mood swings, and can affect learning and memory. Some studies have shown that sleep deprivation can result in emotional and cognitive impairments.
A team of Chinese researchers investigated the effects of sleep deprivation on locomotor activity, memory and emotional behavior in a zebrafish model of Parkinson’s disease. To understand how tiny fish are helping with research for a cure, read more here
The Parkinson’s Foundation has a free library with the latest Parkinson’s disease (PD) related information. To view the following topics and many more – Seeking a Specialist, Physical Therapy, Depression, Intimacy, Impulse Control, Non-drug options, Anxiety, Fatigue or Apathy – click here.
Quoting information provided in a Michael J. Fox Foundation Foxfeed blog post titled “Ask the MD: Music as Medicine for the Mind”…
“In certain diseases, like Parkinson’s, the brain rhythm in the circuit controlling movement gets off track. …Playing music exercises the mind and body. It provides a route for social interaction. In drawing someone into its rhythm, it can calm a resting tremor, break a freezing spell and bring gait into a more normal pattern. Music can boost memory, lessen depression, and improve the volume and tone of speech.” (https://www.michaeljfox.org/foundation/news-detail.php?music-as-medicine-for-the-mind)
Join our new MedRhythms 8-week neurologic percussion series beginning on Wednesday afternoons from 1-2 PM at the Danvers Community YMCA starting May 1st! Beat a combination of drums, smack a boomwacker, shake maracas…and SO much more! The series is limited to 30 people – take a chance on something new, motivating, beneficial, and fun. Register early by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to be part of this pilot opportunity here in our area!
“Strategy without execution
is the slowest route to victory,
and tactics without strategy
is the noise before defeat.”
Sun Tzu was a Chinese general, military strategist, writer, and philosopher who lived in the Eastern Zhou period of ancient China. Sun Tzu is traditionally credited as the author of The Art of War, a widely influential work of military strategy that has affected both Western and East Asian philosophy and military thinking.
When your strategy for holding Parkinson’s symptoms at bay is – “I’ll plan for exercise, education, and socialization with others to manage my Parkinson’s” – but then none of it is put into action, Parkinson’s gains another life-robbing victory in the war.
The Parkinson’s Fitness team is here to provide BOTH the strategies and the ways to execute them that fit YOUR abilities! We have a whole variety of classes and programs that address the many challenges Parkinson’s symptoms create. TRY ANY OR ALL OF THEM!Click here for days, times and locations.
WHOA! We all attended the start of our 8-week MedRhythms/Parkinson’s Fitness music therapy series for a number of reasons. We want to learn techniques for strengthening our voices so that we can continue to communicate effectively with others; we want to tap into the regions of our brains where music rhythms help trigger the signals that help us with mobility; we want to have fun singing while we learn together! The program is available for people with not only Parkinson’s, but also Multiple Sclerosis, stroke recovery, and traumatic brain injury therapy.
MedRhythms music therapist, Stian Hansen, and his assistant, Michi, introduced a group of 37 men and women to the opportunities that await us through their use of vocal sound variations, facial exercises, pitch “sliders”, musical instruments, rhythm tapping and, of course, singing!
Stian encouraged us to share our expectations for joining this new series, and he stayed after the session to speak personally with whoever had questions. We are certain that he will continue creating an ongoing program over the remaining weeks that will prove to be a wonderful tool for everyone who attends. And if the predicted snow for the upcoming week doesn’t force us to postpone our second session, the space provided for us at the Beverly Council on Aging will once again be alive with music from 2:00 to 3:30 PM!
Curious? Interested in attending? Please click here to email us or phone Linda Hall at Parkinson’s Fitness: 781-572-5918. To learn more about MedRhythms’ concepts, click here to visit their web site.
Parkinson’s Fitness and MedRhythms Neurologic Music Therapy collaborated to provide THE best educational seminar at the Beverly COA on September 7th!
MedRhythms Neurologic Music Therapy CEO/co-founder, Brian Harris, presented such interactive, engaging, eye-opening information, that all 78 of us who attended couldn’t believe how quickly an hour and a half passed by! Everyone remained completely focused on what Brian explained and demonstrated.
Video clips showing the effect of using music rhythms to reach areas of the brain that control speech, body movements, and cognition were fascinating, especially because actual patients were shown interacting with the MedRhythms therapists. Brian and a seminar audience volunteer held everyone’s attention as she participated in a demonstration of how rhythmic beat affects the way our brain “tells” the body how to move.
Our audience included people affected by Parkinson’s, stroke, traumatic brain injury, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy and other forms of neurologic conditions, as well as memory impairment. Brian’s program was a wonderful introduction into a complementary form of neurologic therapy. To witness in the videos the effect of specifically chosen rhythms on movement and gait, and the happy look of satisfaction on the face of a patient who re-gained his ability to once again communicate, was heartening to watch.
There’s a future filled with promise waiting to be explored by many people here in our local communities, and we will do whatever we possibly can to create a way to build programming that includes MedRhythms neurologic music therapies. We invite you to join our efforts!
When did Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) first appear?
“NMT was researched and developed by the Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy in Fort Collins, Colorado. The first certification program of NMT was held in 1999. Since then, Neurologic Music Therapy has seen rapid growth in healthcare.”
Millions of people lose language, cognitive, and movement abilities each year from neurologic disease or injury – i.e. Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Huntington’s, Cerebral Palsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury, autism, etc. MedRhythms collaborates with individuals, medical clinicians, and assisted-living and nursing care staff on an inpatient and/or outpatient basis to restore quality to lives.
Most of us in our area are aware of the first-class neurological services available at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown, outside of Boston. “Spaulding Rehabilitation Network was one of the first rehab providers in the country to create a full-time Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) inpatient program and has now announced a partnership with Boston and Portland, Maine based MedRhythms to offer NMT services on an outpatient basis, making it the most comprehensive program of its kind in the nation.”
It is our hope that MedRhythms will become a recognized collaborative partner with residents, organizations, hospitals, and rehabilitation therapists in our North Shore Area.
Remember…while music therapy lifts spirits through singing, drumming, bell ringing, etc. …it’s also about connecting the brain and body
Click here to see seminar details and how to register for the September 7th event in Beverly. Register by September 1st!