Living With Parkinson's Disease

Nearly 10 million people live with Parkinson’s disease around the world, and a million of those live in America. Because Parksinson’s disease progresses, you might wonder what your path will look like and what symptoms you’ll develop. 

Our board-certified psychiatrist, Jacob Bishop, MD, and board-certified neuropsychologist, Peter Gager, PhD, understand how neurodegenerative disorders can affect your quality of life. At the Brain Health Center, we’re on a mission to support your brain health whether you’re dealing with depression related to Parkinson’s disease or other symptoms.

Below, we explore the basics of Parkinson's disease and the potential TMS applications related to cognitive, physical, and emotional symptoms of the disease.

Parkinson’s disease: a quick overview

Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that often causes tremors, limb rigidity, and balance problems. It affects the predominantly dopamine-producing neurons in your substantia nigra, which is a small, pigmented part of your brain. 

As a dopamine-producing part of the brain, any neurodegeneration here has a big impact on your physical and mental health. If you have Parkinson’s disease, you can also experience non-motor symptoms:

Living with Parkinson’s disease

To maintain your quality of life with Parkinson’s disease, learn as much as you can about the disease and follow through with any of the therapies suggested for you. In addition to medication to address low dopamine levels, neurologists typically recommend a healthy diet and and regular exercise.

TMS and Parkinson’s disease

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), an off-label treatment that can help those with depression, stimulates specific areas in the brain. Dr. Bishop may recommend TMS if you have Parkinson’s disease as a way to help ease physical, mental, and cognitive symptoms. 

This can be particularly beneficial if you already experience depression and apathy associated with neurodegeneration.

TMS has many off-label applications, which means that TMS therapy may ease other symptoms of Parkinson's disease, not just depression. In a review published by the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, researchers reported that TMS improved motor function and decreased apathy in those with Parkinson’s disease.

What is it like to get TMS therapy?

TMS sessions are short, often lasting just 3-20 minutes. We customize each session so you receive the appropriate energy levels to the specific spot in your brain.

TMS therapy doesn’t hurt. You may hear clicking or feel a slight tapping sensation, but the therapies are brief and noninvasive. 

If you or a loved one has concerns about Parkinson’s disease, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. To learn more about TMS therapy, call our Lexington, Kentucky, office to book an appointment.

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