At age 37, Neil Diner was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD). It started with shaking in his arm and stiffness in his legs. His coworkers, not realizing the seriousness of Neil’s condition, joked that he may have Parkinson’s. Unfortunately for Neil, it was no joke — he did. That was 10 years ago. Today, Neil is living with Parkinson’s. And thanks to innovative treatments like deep brain stimulation (DBS) and effective medication management, Neil enjoys life, including an occasional game of softball.
Neil is a patient of Joseph Friedman, MD, a leading neurologist and expert in Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders, and the chief of Butler Hospital’s new Movement Disorders Program. He has authored two books, Making the Connection Between Brain and Behavior: Coping with Parkinson’s Disease and Taking Charge: Good Medical Care for the Elderly and How to Get It. A professor and chief of the Division of Movement Disorders, Department of Neurology, at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Dr. Friedman reports, “Parkinson’s is a progressive disease that requires close monitoring, as the medication used to treat PD frequently causes side effects after a patient has been on it for quite some time.” One side effect that presents in about 30 percent of his PD patients is hallucinations. Neil experienced hallucinations, which stopped after his medication was switched.
In addition to hallucinations, over 90 percent of patients with PD experience dementia, fatigue, anxiety, depression, or general apathy. Dr. Friedman established Butler’s Movement Disorders Program to foster greater collaboration among the hospital’s neurologists, psychiatrists, and psychologists in treating the fatigue, depression, and apathy often associated with movement disorders.
Through the Movement Disorders Program, patients with Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, gait disorders, tremors, drug-induced movement disorders, ataxias, dystonias, and other movement disorders are given expert diagnosis and comprehensive medical management of their symptoms. The program also offers innovative treatments such as DBS and botulinum toxin therapy.