About the Blog: Improving the Life of the Parkinson's Disease Patient

 

The purpose of this blog is to create a simple forum for Parkinson's disease patients to learn and exchange the secrets that can help them to live a happier life.

The most humbling experience of my life has been the time I have spent with families, and with patients suffering from Parkinson’s and chronic neurological diseases.  I use the word humbling, because time after time, in person, and also on the web forum, we have uncovered simple and addressable issues and secrets that have changed people’s lives.  For some sufferers it has meant walking again, for others it has restored their voices, and for many it has resulted in the lifting of a depression, anxiety and desperation cloud that has obscured their dreams, and robbed them of potential unrealized happiness.  I never assume a sufferer or family member is aware of the “secrets” that may lead to hope and to a happier life.  We must share these secrets, and this is the purpose of this website.

My newest book, Parkinson's Treatment: 10 Secrets to a Happier Life will be published March 1, 2013.  We will provide translations of the book and its secrets into over 20 languages, so that we can help people from all worldwide cultures and languages. In each chapter of this new book I will reveal an important secret, and will explain, the insight, the rationale, the empiricism, and the science behind it.  Additionally, in each chapter I will try to reveal a little more about myself, and a lot more about the patients and talented clinicians who gifted the secrets.  These patients planted the seed of faith. They learned to grow hope, and they discovered the core values necessary to achieve happiness despite chronic disease.

The Expanding Wordwide Burden of Parkinson's Disease

The prevalence estimates for Parkinson’s disease are staggering.  The numbers suggest an urgent need to wake up, and to deal with the Parkinson’s and chronic neurological disease reality before a worldwide crisis emerges.  It is scary to consider that in the world’s most populous nations, the number of Parkinson’s sufferers will double to almost 30 million by the year 2030.  Because the most important risk factor for development of Parkinson’s disease has been identified as age, if everyone lives to be one hundred, we will all be facing this as a potential large-scale reality.

Aims of this Parkinson's Disease Blog

The aim of this Parkinson's Treatment blog is to inspire faith, plant the seed of hope, help patients to discover their core values, and to share “secrets” that will improve lives.  I believe that every patient, and every family member touched by Parkinson’s and by chronic neurological disease, can find and kindle hope.  Hope leads to happiness, and happiness will lead to a meaningful life.

About the Author:  

Michael S. Okun, MD is considered a world's authority on Parkinson's disease treatment, and his publications provide a voice and an outlet to empower people living all over the world.  He  received his B.A. in History from Florida State University, and his M.D. from the University of Florida where he graduated with Honors. Dr. Okun completed an internship and Neurology residency at the University of Florida. Following residency he was trained at Emory University, one of the world’s leading centers for movement disorders research, in both general movement disorders and in microelectrode recording/surgical treatments.

He is currently Administrative Director and Co-director of the Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration which is part of the Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, the McKnight Brain Institute, and the University of Florida College of Medicine. The center is unique in that it is comprised of over 45 interdisciplinary faculty members from diverse areas of campus, all of whom are dedicated to care, outreach, education and research. Dr. Okun has been dedicated to this interdisciplinary care concept, and since his appointment as the National Medical Director for the National Parkinson Foundation in 2006, he has worked with the 43 international NPF centers of excellence to help foster the best possible environments for care, research and outreach in Parkinson disease, dystonia, Tourette, and movement disorders.

Dr. Okun was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration and its completely patient-centric approach to care.  He and his wife support many charities and he is currently the Medical Advisor for Tyler’s Hope for a Dystonia Cure, and also the Co-Medical Director for the Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA).

Dr. Okun has been supported by grants from the National Parkinson Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Parkinson Alliance, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease Research, and he currently runs the online international “Ask The Expert” forums, on the National Parkinson Foundation website.  The forum is a free service that answers questions from every continent (except Antartica) and has over 10,000 postings in the last 3 years alone.

Dr. Okun has dedicated much of his career to the development of care centers for people suffering with movement disorders, but has also has enjoyed a prolific research career exploring non-motor basal ganglia brain features and he has participated in pioneering studies exploring the cognitive, behavioral, and mood effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS). Dr. Okun holds the Adelaide Lackner Professorship in Neurology, has published over 300 peer-reviewed articles and chapters, is a published poet (Lessons From the Bedside, 1995), and has served as a reviewer for more than 25 major medical journals including JAMA and the New England Journal of Medicine. He has been invited to speak about Parkinson disease and movement disorders all over the world.  His published works can be found in many sources and many languages and in such places as the New England Journal of Medicine and on the patient forums and blogs at the National Parkinson Foundation.