The Shaky Times
-- Online Edition --
February 2018
Here's what's inside:

Carol Fisher on Depression and Anxiety - Exercise Eases Symptoms

Gut-Brain Axis and Neurodegenerative Disorders

February Meeting Speakers

2018 Annual Dues Reminder

Donation Acknowledgments

Meetings, Announcements, and How to Contact Us
Depression and Anxiety – Exercise Eases Symptoms

By Carol Fisher 

“Good for the body is the work of the body, good for the soul the work of the soul, and good for either the work of the other.” ~Henry David Thoreau
A Mayo clinic study states that doing thirty minutes or more or exercise a day for three to five days a week may significantly improve depression or anxiety symptoms. But smaller amounts of physical activity—as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time— may also make a difference. It may take less time to improve your mood by exercising when you do more vigorous exercises like bicycling or fast walking.

The mental health benefits of exercise and physical activity may last only if you stick with it over the long term—a good reason to find something you enjoy.

Steps for getting started and staying motivated:

  • Identify what you enjoy doing. Figure out what types of exercise you’re most likely to do and then figure out how and when you’re most likely to follow through.
  • Get support from your health professional. Talk to your doctor or mental health professional to determine how various activities fit into your overall treatment plan.
  • Set reasonable goals. Think realistically about how to begin and work up gradually to an effective level.
  • Try not to think of exercise or physical activity as a chore. If exercise is just another “should” in your life, motivation will be low. Regard your exercise regimen the same way you would look at therapy sessions or medication—as one of the tools to help you get better.
  • Analyze your barriers. Figure out what is holding you back. If exercising alone works for you—great! If you find it difficult to feel motivated alone, find a gym, partner or community where people with similar goals help you feel inspired and supported.
  • Prepare for setbacks and obstacles. Be gentle with yourself. If you get off track or miss a day, just get back in the saddle the next day. Stick with it.

Exercise and movement have long been known to be essential to help maintain the quality of life with for a person with Parkinson’s disease. We now know that an exercise plan can also improve mood and mental health. Have you made some form of movement a part of your everyday life?

Carol Fisher is a registered Yoga Instructor and a certified Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery Instructor. She has been teaching movement to people with PD for the past eight years, and has worked extensively with John Argue. She can be reached by phone at 925-566-4181 or via email at Visit her website at

The Mayo Clinic study mentioned in Carol’s article can be accessed here:  
Gut-Brain Axis and Neurodegenerative Disorders
There is growing recognition within the medical and scientific communities of the link between the microbial composition of the intestines and the central nervous system, known as the “gut-brain axis”.

This link encompasses bidirectional communication channels between the central nervous system, the enteric nervous system, and the endocrine system.

Furthermore, the gut-brain axis is responsible for the regulation of immune responses in both the intestines and the brain, with all aspects being heavily affected by the activity of intestinal microorganisms. It is no wonder then that dysregulation of gut microbiota may lead to various disturbances and diseases in the human body.

A number of questions remain regarding both the content and repercussions of this dialogue between the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal system. However, Intestinal health can influence the brain, and research indicates that chronic intestinal inflammation is a potential culprit in neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s disease.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease represents a progressive, irreversible brain disorder that gradually destroys memory and thinking capabilities, and eventually the capacity to carry out the simplest functions. This condition is characterized by an inflammatory response to beta-amyloid, a protein which has the propensity to activate microglia and instigate an inflammatory response.

A myriad of gut pathogens stimulates gut inflammation and negatively impacts brain function, resulting in the promotion of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. Species that may be involved in this process include Chlamydophila pneumoniae, Salmonella enterica susp. enterica ser. Typhimurium , Helicobacter pylori and Lachnospiraceae.

Case-control studies show that patients with Alzheimer’s disease infected with Helicobacter pylori score lower in the Mini–Mental State Examination (MMSE) and higher in cognitive impairment. Furthermore, the eradication of this organism was shown to prolong the lifetime of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting its potential role in pathogenesis.

Deposits akin to the plaques in Alzheimer’s disease were found in mice brains after they were intranasally infected with Chlamydophila pneumoniae. The infected cells showed structures that closely resembled both neurofibrillary tangles and neuritic senile plaques, which are in the brain of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

On the other hand, some bacteria have been found to be beneficial in maintaining brain function and pre-venting mental disorders. Some notable examples are Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus fermentum strain NS9 , Bifidobacterium longum and Bifidobacterium dentium .

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is the most common movement disorder in adults, and among the most frequently observed neurodegenerative disorder. It is a chronic condition characterized by tremor, stiffness, bradykinesia and postural instability, and affected individuals tend to have difficulties walking, talking, and completing simple tasks.

In Parkinson’s disease, intestinal dysregulation is usually observed several years prior to the clinical manifestation of the illness. Some novel hypotheses state that Parkinson’s disease originates in the gut and then spreads to the brain through the gut-brain axis – more specifically, via stimulation of the vagus nerve and the spinal cord. This is supported by the fact that the parasympathetic vagal fibers that innervate the intestine (among other regions) emerge from the dorsal motor nucleus.

Researchers are interested in understanding the influence of the gut microbiota in regard to Parkinson’s disease. One early study where fecal microbiota samples were acquired from 72 individuals with Parkinson’s disease and their age-matched controls revealed increased numbers of Enterobacteriaceae and reduced numbers of Prevotellaceae in affected individuals with Parkinson’s disease.

Additionally, excessive manganese is a putative risk factor in cases of environmentally linked Parkinson’s disease. Metal toxicity may influence gut motility and, consequently, alter the production of key microbial metabolites in the gut. Therefore it is highly likely that exposure to toxins in the environment can influence the profile of the gut microbiome producing possible unfavorable effects on the central nervous system.

Reviewed by Liji Thomas, MD : SOURCES:

  • Gareau MG. Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis and Cognitive Function. In: Lyte M, Cryan JF, editors. Microbial
  • Endocrinology: The Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis in Health and Disease. Springer, 2014; pp. 357-372.
February Meeting Speakers

February 17, 2018

Presentation: "Duopa: A Treatment for Advanced Parkinson's Disease." A joint presentation by Salima Brillman, MD, Parkinson’s Institute; and Stephanie Fiola, BSN, RN, CCRN, Abbvie.

Dr. Brillman is a board certified neurologist devoted to diagnosing and managing patients with PD and other movement disorders. Ms. Fiola has been an an ICU nurse for over 20 years. For the past four years, she has been a full-time nurse educator. Catering will be underwritten by Abbvie and presented by Cindy Gershen and her Mt. Diablo High School students.

2018 Dues - Still $50

PNMD annual dues are still $50 per household. Enclosed with the print issue of the Shaky Times is a self-addressed reply envelope for your payment. Please affix first-class postage.

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.

Thank you for supporting PNMD!
Donation Acknowledgements

  • Richard and Patricia Viera
  • Derek and Janice Ransley
  • Greg Warner
  • Mary Anna and Martin Jansen
  • Cathy and Glenn Hostetler
  • Joyce and Stewart Bowers
  • Kevin Deane and Jeanne Warren
  • Norman and Jackie Bardsley
  • Lizette Schinauer
  • Kent Olson
  • Toba D. Olson Simon
  • Roger and Julia Kampsnider in honor of Abraham Raja
  • Georgia Hazard in memory of James Hazard
  • Margaret Layshock in memory of John Layshock
  • Sara Allen in memory of William Allen

The Parkinson Network of Mount Diablo Needs Volunteers
Our organization is in desperate need of volunteers to help keep the meetings and operations going smoothly. We need a proofreader/editor to replace Howard Zalkin who will be leaving us soon to live back East. But that's not the only help that we need. We're also looking for people with-

  • Computer skills in Word, Powerpoint, Excel or Constant Contact
  • Audio/visual skills
  • Fundraising skills
  • Writing, editing and newsletter skills
  • Web development and social media skills

You don't have to commit large blocks of time or be there at every meeting. Even if you help a few hours a month or can assist with the monthly meetings, your assistance would be greatly appreciated not only by the board but also by the membership.

Please contact Cathy Hostetler either by phone at 925-932-5285 or via email at
Announcements, Meetings and How to Reach Us

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
Library Corner

The library is open for business at the monthly meeting. Peruse the free booklets, brochures and other items of interest. Check out a book. Have you read a book on Parkinson’s that others may like? Give the Librarian the name and it will be added to the library. Donate books of interest. Sharing helps everyone.
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.
    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 Sandy Clark ( (925) 944-0769.

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
Chairs: Abraham Raja (925) 381-0688
Lance Gershen (925) 932-1028
Past President: Howard Zalkin (925) 785-6670
Secretary: Betsy Fowler: (925) 314-1875
Treasurer: Amy Van Voorhis (925) 932-5036
Membership: Ken Kuhn (925) 588-9837
Health and Wellness Program: Cathy Hostetler (925) 932-5285
Volunteer Coordinator: Cathy Hostetler (925) 932-5285
Information Technology: Sara Allen (925) 296-0221
Librarian: Abraham Raja (925) 381-0688
Program Chair: Lance Gershen (925) 932-1028,or email
Tremble Clefs: Michael Grupp (925) 451-3389
Caregiver Discussion Group: Norman Kibbe (925) 935-9322
Women's Discussion Group: Sandy Clark (925) 944-0769
Men's Discussion Group: Derek Ransley (925) 944-0162
Donations and Memorials: Please mail to P.O. Box 3127, Walnut Creek, CA 94598.
Newsletter Editor: Randolph Segura (925) 872-1927 Please email submissions by the 15th to:

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.