The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

100° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Multi-tasking a risk with Parkinson’s

    Walking and talking simutaneously could lead to potentially harmful effects for individuals with movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease.

    At a talk hosted by the department of speech, language and hearing sciences, renowned author and researcher Leonard L. LaPointe, Ph.D., spoke about the risk of falling for people with Parkinson’s.

    These risks stem from sensory overload caused by difficulties in separating attention, memory and other cognitive domains from speech processing, LaPointe said.

    In a recent study by Florida State University, 74 of 109 participants were predicted to suffer falls while walking and talking, which can lead to injuries and death.

    LaPointe and his colleagues aim to produce research that will educate Parkinson’s sufferers and their physicians about how to prevent falls and other injuries, he said.

    A regular exercise program, a safe home, a review of medications and periodic vision checks are key prevention methods, he said.

    Parkinson’s

    A regular exercise program, a safe home, a review of medications and periodic vision checks are key (injury) prevention methods.

    disease is a brain disorder that occurs when certain neurons in the brain die or become impaired.

    These neurons are responsible for producing and transfering the chemical dopamine, which allows smooth, coordinated function of the body’s muscles and movement, according to http://www.parkinsons.org.

    When approximately 80 percent of these neurons die, Parkinson’s symptoms – including tremors, slowness in movement, muscle stiffness, balance difficulties, muffled speech and depression – set in, according to the Web site.

    The Florida State study was composed of many experiments conducted using a group of people diagnosed with idiopathic Parkinsonism, the most common version of Parkinson’s.

    Under conditions with typical everyday distractions, subjects had more than 30 variables of gait measured, including cadence, step length and velocity, LaPointe said.

    Parameters were then tracked and reported with a computerized system to determine dynamic balance and predict fall risk, he said. Subjects reacted proportionately to the degree of cognitive-linguistic load, giving further credence to implications produced by other studies.

    Speech, language and hearing sciences professors Jeanette Hoyt and Thomas J. Hixon organized the talk, the first in a series, to honor Anthony B. DeFeo, director of Speech-Language and Hearing Clinics at the UA.

    “”He’s our clinic director, and we just see him as the heart of the department,”” Hixon said.

    DeFeo said he was honored by the lectures, adding that he chose LaPointe as speaker for the first installment because of his reputation in cutting-edge research.

    “”His

    His research always has clinical payoffs that are useful to people who are caring for and
    managing people with Parkinson’s.

    – Anthony B. DeFeo
    director of UA Speech-Language and
    Hearing Clinics, of lecturer Leonard L. LaPointe

    research always has clinical payoffs that are useful to people who are caring for and managing people with Parkinson’s,”” DeFeo said.

    LaPointe is a distinguished professor and chair of the department of communication disorders at Florida State University.

    He has authored or co-authored five books, 35 book chapters and more than 80 journal articles, and has presented more than 400 papers and lectures, according to a synopsis of his lecture.

    He has also held workshops in several countries around the world and received honorary awards from the Arizona Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the Academy of Neurological Communication Disorders and Sciences, and the Clinical Career Award from the Florida Society of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search