The Shaky Times
-- Online Edition --
April 2018
Here's what's below:
Electrical-pulse Brain Stimulation
Improves Parkinson's Patients' Mid-step Freezing

Having an Attitude of Gratitude

Vitamin B12 Supplement

April Meeting Speaker

Library Corner

Nutrition Corner

Donation Acknowledgments

Meetings, Announcements, and How to Contact Us
Electrical-pulse Brain Stimulation
Improves Parkinson's Patients'
Mid-step Freezing

By Alice Melao
Electrical-pulse brain stimulation eases a common mobility problem that Parkinson’s patients face — their walk freezing in mid-step, a study reports.
The research in the journal  Movement Disorders  involved using low-current pulses to alleviate what Parkinson’s experts call gait freezing. The title of the study is “Multitarget transcranial direct current stimulation for freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease.”

Researchers at  Tel Aviv University  tried the stimulation with 20 Parkinson’s patients whose gait freezes. Patients used a head cap to receive 20 minutes of stimulation on three visits.

This technique delivered electric current to the primary motor cortex of the brain or to both this cortex and the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. The study included a control group that received placebo stimulation — a tingling sensation but negligible stimulation.

Before and after each round of stimulation, patients took a number of gait-related and cognition-related tests. One dealt with gait freezing. Another, Timed Up and Go, evaluated patients’ risk of falling. Another was the Stroop cognition test. It evaluated patients’ information processing speed, attention and other factors.

After 20 minutes of simultaneous stimulation of the primary motor cortex and left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, patients’ gait freezing decreased and their mobility and cognition improved more than those who received sham stimulation or stimulation to the primary motor cortex only.

“What we found was quite encouraging,” Professor Jeffrey Hausdorff of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine said in a  press release . “The participants’ walking improved after simultaneous stimulation of the primary motor cortex and left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, but not after primary motor cortex only or sham stimulation,” said Hausdorff, the study’s lead author.

“The results of the study reveal that transcranial direct current stimulation designed to simultaneously target motor and cognitive regions apparently induces immediate aftereffects in the brain that translate into reduced freezing of gait and improvements” in function and mobility, he added.

Overall, the findings suggest that brain stimulation of both motor and cognitive areas improves Parkinson’s patients’ gait freezing.

Tel Aviv University and Harvard Medical School researchers are collaborating on a clinical trial evaluating the long-term benefits of brain stimulation on gait freezing and other Parkinson’s symptoms. The randomized, controlled trial (NCT02656316) is currently recruiting participants.

Source: "Parkinson's News Today." (
Having an Attitude of Gratitude
In 2011, Ann Voskamp’s “One Thousand Gifts” hit the bookstore shelves and almost immediately became a bestseller.

After struggling with different issues throughout her life and her days, Ann tried a different approach to counterattack the darkness she so often found herself trapped in. She began a journal of gratitude: the discipline of recording at least three items of thankfulness each day, giving her over 1,000 in a year’s time.

People who cultivate gratitude tend to be happier. But, how do you cultivate gratitude when you are stuck with a chronic illness? How do you foster a positive attitude when everything seems dark and gloomy?

In her book, “Living in Gratitude: A Journey That Will Change Your Life,” Angeles Arrien writes:
“Gratitude is a feeling that spontaneously emerges from within. However, it is not simply an emotional response; it is also a choice we make. We can choose to be grateful, or we can choose to be ungrateful—to take our gifts and blessings for granted. As a choice, gratitude is an attitude or disposition.”
Gratitude is a choice. Thankfulness is a tracking device that we can use in learning to be grateful. Gratitude is a virtue that “must be taught, or at least modeled, and practiced regularly, until it becomes … a habit of character,” according to Robert Emmons, a leading expert on the scientific aspect of gratitude.

Some people say that if we can appreciate what is not wrong, it makes it easier to notice and appreciate those things that we can and should be thankful for. Gratitude enables the angry person to experience happiness, the envious and jealous person to be content, the bound-up soul — free.

Voskamp recorded three things she was grateful for each day. It didn’t take long for her focus to change, and instead of dwelling on the darkness, she began to look for the light in her life.

Gratitude isn’t just for those who don’t have a chronic illness. In fact, it may be more important for those who are chronically ill to record things in which to be thankful for. When you begin to look for the positive, the negative begins to be less obvious. It may even disappear completely. If that is a byproduct of gratitude, wouldn’t you want to get yourself some?

*** Note:  Parkinson’s News Today  i s strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or  treatment . This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or  treatment . Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of  Parkinson’s News Today   or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease
Vitamin B12 Supplements
May Help Slow Parkinson's Progression

By Alice Melao
Low levels of vitamin B12 in patients in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease are linked to faster motor and cognitive decline, suggesting that vitamin supplements may help slow the progression of these symptoms, a study has found.

The study, “Vitamin B12 and homocysteine levels predict different outcomes in early Parkinson’s disease,” was published in the journal Movement Disorders.

 Several previous studies have shown that B12 deficiencies are common in Parkinson’s patients. Deficiency of this vitamin promotes development of neurological and motor symptoms associated with the disease, including depression, paranoia, muscular numbness, and weakness.

 While most studies have addressed the association of B12 with more advanced Parkinson’s disease, little is known about its contribution in the early stages of the disease before treatment begins.

University of California San Francisco (UCSF) researchers analyzed B12 levels in 680 patients recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s who had not begun treatment. The participants were followed for two years, during which physical and cognitive evaluations were conducted, in addition to B12 assessments. After initial evaluations, the patients were given the option to take a controlled daily multivitamin supplement. 

Patients were divided into three groups according to their B12 levels at the beginning of the study. Approximately 13% of the participants had borderline low levels of B12, and 5% had a B12 deficiency. No association was found between low vitamin levels and early motor or cognitive symptoms of Parkinson’s.

The team did find that over time, symptoms in patients with lower B12 levels developed more rapidly than those with higher levels: Patients with lower B12 levels had a significantly reduced ambulatory capacity than patients with higher levels.

 “Our findings demonstrate that low B12 levels are associated with greater walking and balance problems, possibly due to the known effect of B12 deficiency on the central and peripheral nervous systems,” Chadwick Christine, MD, UCSF neurologist and lead author of the study, said in a university press release. “Alternatively, low B12 may have a direct effect on the progression of Parkinson’s disease, or it may be a marker of an unknown associated factor, perhaps correlating with another aspect of the disease or nutritional status.”

Subsequent analysis showed improved B12 levels in about 50% of participants, indicating they had chosen to take the multivitamin supplement. Disease progression in this group of patients was found to be much slower, based on the annualized average increase of disability on the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) score — a measure of Parkinson’s disability. Patients with improved B12 levels had an increase to only 10.11 on the scale, showing less disability, compared with 14.38 in patients who maintained low B12 levels throughout the study.

The team also evaluated the blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that is usually elevated in people with low B12 levels. There was a significant association between high levels of homocysteine — thus lower B12 — and faster cognitive decline.

 “Our results suggest that the measurement of B12 levels early in Parkinson’s may be beneficial,” Christine said. “If levels are at the low end of normal, supplementation to get the level into the middle or upper end of the normal range may slow development of symptoms.”

Further studies are warranted to shed light on how vitamin B12 might benefit Parkinson’s patients, and to fully address its therapeutic potential on disease progression.

The study was supported by funding from the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and gifts from the Ko and Tsu family and William and Mary Ann S. Margaretten.

Source: "Parkinson's News Today." ( may-help-delay-parkinsons-progression/amp/)
April Meeting Speaker

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Presentation: Living Joyfully
Speaker: Victoria O'Kane

Victoria O’Kane is the author of the book,  A Journey to Joy, 13 Steps to Heal Your Self-Esteem . After a lifelong career in sales, she now teaches adults the same skills she learned that changed her life, so that they may also embark upon their own journeys to joy. It is her mission to inspire and motivate others to heal emotionally and to learn how to find and live in the joy we all deserve.

Donation Acknowledgements
Thank you for supporting the work of the Parkinson's Network of Mt. Diablo!

  • John and Patricia Annee
  • Jerry Moseley and Anne Marie Parr
  • Betty and William Vallon
  • Abraham and Rynette Raja
  • Adrian Lopez and Nancy Hairsine

In Memory
  • Carol Mather in memory of Frank Mather

In Honor
  • Carol Ruley in honor of Glenn Ruley
  • Phyllis Levine in honor of Beth Riseman
  • Carol Fisher in honor of the PNMD Board
  • Anonymous in honor of Carol Fisher
Library Corner
This month the library has copies of a new book for you to read, Everything You Need to Know about Caregiving for Parkinson's Disease by Lianna Marie . The author is not a journalist or medical professional but, like most of us, learned about caregiving by doing it. She cared for her mother who had Parkinson's Disease for more than 25 years and who developed dementia in the last years of her illness. The chapters are short and to the point. Her writing is straightforward and not complicated by many medical terms. She emphasizes that caregiving can be rewarding but can also cause the caregiver to suffer stress, depression and burnout as well as negatively impact his/her finances and health. The book offers advice, statistics and references. It is a valuable resource for the nearly 44 million adults in this country who fit the definition of caregiver, i.e., "someone who gives help and protection to someone."

The library is open during the monthly meetings beginning at 10:15 a.m. Please take time to look at the books, DVDs, brochures and articles on the table that are of interest to you. You may borrow a book and/or DVD for a month (until the next meeting).

Janice Ransley, Library Chair

Nutrition Corner
Citrus Ginger Honey Glazed Salmon with Whole Grain Rice
& Sugar Snap Peas
 (Ingredients, 4 servings )


Recipe copyright © 2016 American Heart Association. This recipe is brought to you by the American Heart Association's Simple Cooking with Heart ® Program. For more simple, quick and affordable recipes, visit

2018 Dues - Still $50

PNMD annual dues are still $50 per household. About 60% of you have paid for 2018, but many have not.

If you're ready to pay your dues online, you can do so on the PNMD website right here . You can use your credit card or PayPal through our easy PayPal portal.

If you'd rather mail your dues, send your check to PNMD, P.O. Box 3127, Walnut Creek, CA 94598-0127.

If you are unsure whether you've paid for this year already, contact Sara Allen by phone or email - 925-296-0221 or

Thank you for supporting PNMD!
Announcements, Meetings and How to Reach Us
The Tremble Clefs
Mt. Diablo Tremble Clefs will improve the volume and clarity of your voice through enjoyable free weekly singing sessions. Don’t let your voice fade away. We meet Thursdays 1:30-3:30 pm in Lafayette. For more information please contact chair
Michael Grupp at (925) 451-3389.

Questions? Contact Amy Van Voorhis at

Is There Treasure In Your Driveway?

You can stop paying insurance and registration—and get a tax deduction.
Donate your car, truck or boat to PNMD . Just call: 877-999-8322

Important: Be sure to tell the operator that you wish to donate your car to Parkinson Network of Mount Diablo. Or just use this link for our dedicated online donation form:
If you have any questions, call the vehicle donation program at 877-999 8322.
Or contact Abraham Raja at
     General Meeting Information:

Board Meeting:
First Monday of each month, 10:15 a.m.. Hillside Covenant Church, 2060 Magnolia Way, Walnut Creek. Open to all members.

General Support Group Meeting:
The Parkinson Network of Mt. Diablo Support Group meets on the third Saturday of every month, from 9:00 a.m. to noon at Grace Presbyterian Church, 2100 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek. All are welcome and there is no charge. No RSVP’s needed.

Here is the agenda:

9:00 to 10:15 a.m. – Three concurrent Support Group meetings:

Men with Parkinson’s Disease Only: For men newly diagnosed or who’ve had PD for years: time to share, laugh, and learn from each other. Meeting location is the Fireside Room at Grace Church. Contact person is Derek Ransley, (925) 944-0162.

Women with Parkinson’s Disease Only: For women newly diagnosed or who’ve had PD for years: time to share, laugh, and learn from each other. Meeting location is the Library at Grace Church. Contact person is Rosemary Way, (925) 939-7665.

Caregivers Only: Caregivers discuss issues relating to their roles. Meeting location is the Sanctuary at Grace Church. Contact person is Norman Kibbe, ( (925) 935-9322 .

10:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.-Assemble in Oak Room. The PNMD Library, with books, flyers, videos, etc. is open at this time. Bill Clinch, Moderator, will introduce new members and make announcements.

10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. (Oak Room) Guest speaker (See information above)

11:45 a.m. to noon Q&A, Wrap up.

General questions may be directed to Abraham Raja at (925) 939-4210 ; Lance Gershen, Program Chair (925) 932-1028.

Tri-Valley (Pleasanton) Support Group Meeting:
Meets second Saturday of the month, year-round, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Pleasanton Senior Center, 5353 Sunol Blvd., Pleasanton. This is a support group and learning session that is open to all who want to learn about PD. Facilitators are Norman & Jackie Bardsley, (925) 831-9940.

Contact Us

Web site: 
General Information Phone No.: (925) 939-4210
Co-Presidents: Abraham Raja (925) 381-0688 or
Lance Gershen (925) 932-1028 or
Past President: Howard Zalkin (925) 785-6670 or
Secretary: Beth Donegan (949) 680-9133 or
Publicity: Beth Donegan (949) 680-9133 or
Treasurer: Amy Van Voorhis (925) 932-5036 or
Membership: Ken Kuhn (925) 588-9837 or
Health and Wellness Program: Cathy Hostetler (925) 932-5285
Volunteer Coordinator: Cathy Hostetler (925) 932-5285 or
Information Technology: Sara Allen (925) 296-0221 or
Librarian: Janice Ransley (925) 944-0162 or
Program Chair: Lance Gershen (925) 932-1028 or
Tremble Clefs: Michael Grupp (925) 451-3389
Caregiver Discussion Group: Norman Kibbe (925) 935-9322 or
Women's Discussion Group: Rosemary Way (925) 939-7665,
Men's Discussion Group: Derek Ransley (925) 944-0162 or
Donations and Memorials: Please mail to P.O. Box 3127, Walnut Creek, CA 94598.
Newsletter Editor: TBD Please email submissions by the 15th to: Abraham Raja at
Disclaimer: This newsletter is published to increase awareness of problems related to Parkinson’s Disease. Neither PNMD nor its members make any warranty or assume any responsibility as to the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information presented. The editor’s opinions are strictly his own.