Thursday, November 2, 2017

PD Active 2017 Activities

Here is the program description, schedule, and contact list for PD Active programs in the Bay Area. Click on the pictures to bring up larger versions.

Friday, October 20, 2017

New PD Support Group forming in Pinole, CA

We would like to notify you that a new Parkinson's support group is forming in Pinole and you are invited.

The Inaugural Meeting is this Monday, October 23 at 11:00 am.

Bary Park Retirement Residence
2621 Appian Way, Pinole, CA

If you are interested, please contact:

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

9th Annual PD Patients and Caregivers Conference

Thank you for your patience, we now have 4 of the 5 speakers from the 2017 conference posted, as well as the question and answer session.  One speaker will be added at a later date. 

Thank you again to everyone who attended, we are excited about the new outreach possibilities that we will have in 2018, and also hope that we can continue this annual educational conference.



Thursday, June 1, 2017

Moving Day 2017

Thank you to everyone who came out for the Moving Day San Francisco, on May 7 at Justin Herman Plaza!  We were so excited to see so many new walkers and hope that everyone enjoyed themselves.

Reminder: Moving Day-San Jose is this Saturday, June 3, at Evergreen Valley College, in San Jose.  Link to the event is here:

Please come out and support the Parkinson's Foundation and keep moving!


Friday, March 24, 2017

9th Annual PD Conference Saturday, May 20, 2017- 12:00-4:30

We will be hosting another great PD patient and caregiver conference on May 20, at the Mission Bay Conference Center.  Tickets and more information for this popular annual event can be found here:

Please be aware that this event sells out, so buy your tickets now.

The information and agenda for the conference are below:

Saturday, May 20, 2017

UCSF Mission Bay Campus
William J. Rutter Center – Robertson Auditorium
1675 Owens Street, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158

11:00 – 12:00

12:00 – 12:10
Welcome & Introductions
Michael Aminoff, MD, DSc, FRCP
Distinguished Professor of Neurology & Director of UCSF Parkinson’s Disease Clinic and Research Center

12:10 – 12:45
Robert Edwards, MD
Professor, Department of Neurology
“Investigating the Causes of Parkinson's Disease”

12:45 – 1:20
Chad Christine, MD
Professor, Department of Neurology
“Nutritional Status in Parkinson’s Disease”

1:20 – 1:55
Maya Katz, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology
“Care of Patients with Advanced Parkinson's Disease”

1:55 – 2:30
Break & Light Refreshments
2:30 – 3:05

Joey Laus, CCC-SLP, MS
Speech Pathologist, Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery
“Management of Communication and Swallowing Disorders in People with Parkinson's Disease”

3:05 – 3:40
Catherine D. Printz, PT, DPT, NCS
Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science
“Exercise Strategies to Combat the Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease”

3:40 – 4:15

Friday, October 7, 2016

Physical Therapy for PD

Exercise should be part of the daily routine of a patient with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Exercise and regular activity improve mobility, dexterity, and balance, and may even slow the progression of PD. Exercise, especially outdoors, also helps to alleviate depression, which is a common accompaniment of parkinsonism. Finally, there is a growing belief in the medical community that regular exercise improves or preserves cognitive function. For most PD patients, it is not necessary to consult with their primary care provider (PCP) before starting a low-impact exercise regimen, such as taking a daily walk for 30 minutes. However, for a PD patient with heart or pulmonary disease, in particular, it is important for the PCP to determine what exercise can be done safely.

For a more focused program, patients may want to consult with a physical therapist on specific exercises that can be done to keep muscles, joints, and limbs in an optimal state. Neurologic Clinical Specialists (NCS) are physical therapists who specialize in movement disorders, such as PD. However, a patient should not delay starting a program in order to meet with an NCS, as all physical therapists are trained movement professionals and will be able to assist in creating an exercise plan.

A physical therapy (PT) program ideally should focus on improving posture and balance and on maintaining dexterity and functional ability in the limbs. Such programs can be tailored to emphasize exercises that may reduce the risks of falling. It is common for patients with PD to have disturbances of gait, and certain exercises can help to maintain good strides, improve arm swing, and counter freezing episodes.

PD motor symptoms are usually asymmetric, affecting one side of the body more than the other. Some patients with PD show a reticence to use their affected side. Seeking to hide their tremor, they will attempt to stay the tremor by clasping hands or sitting on the tremulous hand. Others, knowing that one hand is slower and clumsier, will favor the “better” hand for most activities. Patients with PD who have predominantly lower limb symptoms often reduce the amount of walking they do, or rely increasingly on a cane or walker. If an assistive device is necessary to protect the patient from repeated falls, it should be employed —however, the danger in neglecting an affected limb is that the less the limb is used, the less usable it becomes. Patients must actively strive to do more with affected limbs. “Forced” use of an affected limb leads to neural adaptation. In other words, the limb becomes more responsive because the neural pathways that control it are activated more fully. Neural adaptation has been shown to occur in patients who have undergone forced use rehabilitative strategies after a stroke.

In the daily routine of a patient with PD, time should be spent on improving range of motion, task performance, and coordination, particularly of the more symptomatic limb. For the hands, practice precise repetitive movements: drumming or tapping the fingers, turning the palm up and down, throwing, catching, and squeezing a ball, putting small objects in small containers, using a finger to quickly touch mobile and stationary objects, and so on. Exercises to practice with the legs include: marching and stepping in place while occasionally changing directions, and toe tapping. When walking, keep the head up, the shoulders back, and swing the arms purposefully. The point is to challenge the limbs to be as active as possible.

After a PT program has been outlined and followed for a while, periodic re-evaluation by the physical therapist will help to confirm that the program is providing some benefit. PD is a disease that tends to worsen over time, and exercise programs may need to be adjusted with disease progression.

Keeping the mind limber is also important. Learning-based exercises can help maintain multi-tasking capabilities, which may —in turn— have a positive effect on work and inter-personal interactions. Solving puzzles, playing board games, and exploring new hobbies are all things that PD patients can do to challenge the mind and keep it nimble. Other activities like dance, tai chi, and yoga are especially beneficial, pairing relatively low-impact movement with learning, memory, and repetition. In addition, these activities provide pleasure and increase opportunities to socialize. Physical therapy offers the opportunity to collaborate with a movement professional to create a regimen that is unique to the patient, and will help the patient keep the body and mind durable, flexible, and resilient.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Bay Area NPF 2016 Moving Day, 2 dates!

In case you haven't heard, the National Parkinson Foundation is having its second annual Moving Day® in San Francisco (May1) and Silicon Valley (June 4) and we would love to see you there!

UCSF is a National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence and the UCSF Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Clinic (Parnassus Campus) and the UCSF Movement Disorder and Neuromodulation Center (Mt Zion Campus) are working with the NPF to produce another successful event.  We are currently establishing the UCSF PD Center walking team and hope you will be inspired to create your own team and join with the hundreds of other people walking and celebrating together!

Moving Day® is a fun and inspiring fundraising event that will unite families, friends, and communities in the fight against Parkinson’s disease. More than just a walk, Moving Day highlights NPF’s belief in a better life until we have a cure for PD.  It focuses on “movement” and exercise as a symbol of hope and progress because of its essential role in treating the disease.   The funds raised by this event help support NPF programs vital to the advancement of PD research and outreach at the national and local level.  Last year, support from the NPF helped to expand our community outreach in San Francisco.

REGISTER TODAY for either:  San Francisco - Sunday, May 1, 2016 or Silicon Valley (San Jose) – Saturday, June 4, 2016.  You can find additional information at

Moving Day® features a unique Movement Pavilion, with stations such as yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, PWR, LSVT Big, boxing, and dance — all proven to help manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The walks also feature a Resource Pavilion, which will include local medical and paramedical professionals like neurologists, physical therapists, social workers, and other community resources for patients and caregivers.  Included in the festivities are family-friendly walk routes of 1, 2, or 3 miles, a kids’ area, music, entertainment and much more. 

Thank you for your support and if you have any questions concerning Moving Day®, please reach out to walk coordinator, Colleen Fischer at 925-421-6737 or email her at

Hope you can make it out for a day of movement and exercise and support for the fight against PD.

Aaron (Team Captain, UCSF PDCRC)