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Parkinson's Disease & Movement Disorders Center

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The Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center consists of several programs designed to offer comprehensive care to individuals and their families. Ongoing, long-term care with the same specialists provides patients with individualized care and access to the newest developments in treatment. In addition to standard care, patients may choose to participate in the latest clinical trials investigating new medications and therapies for treating Parkinson's disease. The Center offers the most current and innovative medical and surgical treatments available for disease and disorders, including:

  • Parkinson's disease
  • Multiple system atrophy (MSA)
  • Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)
  • Huntington's disease
  • Tremor
  • Chorea
  • Athetosis
  • Dystonia
  • Ballism
  • Myoclonus
  • Tics
  • Spasticity
  • Rigidity
  • Restless legs syndrome

For more detailed information about any of the following programs, visit the Boston University School of Medicine’s website.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson's Day Evaluation Program

BMC is pleased to offer patients with Parkinson's disease a Day Evaluation Program designed to take the traditional clinic visit a step further by extending the observation and assessment phase of treatment.

Based on the belief that learning more about each person’s condition will facilitate a healthy adjustment and assure more effective management of the disease, there are two types of patient programs available:

  • Extended Observation and Assessment
  • Newly Diagnosed Patient and Family

In addition to physician and nurse observation, the program’s activities focus on the many aspects of coping with Parkinson's disease and may include teaching, discussions, exercise demonstrations, counseling, and emotional support services.

Deep Brain Stimulation Program

The Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Program is a collaborative medical and surgical program for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, and dystonia. This multidisciplinary program combines neurosurgery, neurology, neuropsychiatry, behavioral medicine, anesthesiology, and nursing to care for patients.

A multi-step screening process is used to select patients carefully for this procedure. Some patients who may be candidates for surgery include: 1) patients who do not have good movement control despite optimized medical therapy and 2) patients who have dyskinesia or other side effects that limit the use of Parkinson's medications.

In the selection process, patients are referred by their neurologist for a screening neurological consultation by the neurological DBS program director, Samuel Ellias, MD. Patients are evaluated with a brain MRI, neuropsychological testing, and movement testing with videotaping. Test results are reviewed by a panel of movement disorder neurologists and nurses in regular meetings before referring the patient to the neurosurgeon for further evaluation. The patient is then seen and evaluated by the DBS neurosurgical director, Keith Davies, MD.

After DBS, patients receive follow-up neurological care and adjustments of medications and DBS neurostimulators from team members including Anna Hohler, MD.

American Parkinson’s Disease Association Information & Referral Center

The Information & Referral Center was established at BMC in 1980.

The Center serves as a resource for those with Parkinson's disease and their loved ones, as well as healthcare providers. Patients, caregivers, healthcare providers, and the greater community can receive support regardless of their affiliation with the hospital. Services include:

  • A telephone helpline, (617) 638-8466 or (800) 651-8466
  • A comprehensive resource referral network
  • Support group assistance
  • Counseling and guidance
  • Training and support for healthcare professionals
  • Implementation of regional conferences
  • Participation in community awareness and public relations activities
  • Publication of the newsletter Parkinson’s Report
  • Maintaining a state-wide website

For information or to make an appointment, call the APDA Information & Referral Center at (617) 638-8466 or (800) 651-8466.

Huntington’s Disease

The Huntington’s Disease Program at BMC’s Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center offers individualized clinical services for patients and families affected by Huntington's disease (HD), a genetic neurological disorder characterized by uncoordinated, jerky body movements and a decline in some mental abilities. The care team includes a neurologist who specializes in HD, the movement disorder fellow, a nurse practitioner and a social worker. Nutrition, physical therapy, occupational therapy and genetic counseling resources are available upon referral.

To provide optimal care for HD patients unable to live at home, BMC works with Coyne Healthcare Center, an inpatient skilled nursing facility. This collaboration includes visits by the patient’s care team to the Center for consultation.

Patients in the HD Program also have the opportunity to participate in research to both advance understanding of HD through observational trials and to test new medication as BMC is a research site of the Huntington Study Group. Currently, studies are ongoing for people who are at risk for developing HD as well as observational and investigational drug trials for patients with HD.

Multiple System Atrophy Program

Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) is a degenerative neurological disorder of unknown cause associated with the degeneration of nerve cells in specific areas of the brain. This cell degeneration causes problems with movement, balance, and automatic functions of the body such as bladder control.

The Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center provides comprehensive clinical care for patients with MSA. Clinical services include office evaluation, autonomic testing, medical management, supportive care, counseling, and a rehabilitation program. Patients are seen by a neurologist who specializes in movement and autonomic disorders. Additional services include sleep evaluation, urological evaluation, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. There is also a MSA Family and Patient Support Group that meets four times per year at BMC.