Dopamine agonists drugs are receiving some negative publicity at the moment. Dopamine agonists (ropinirole, pramipexole, apomorphine) work by switching on the dopamine receptor sites in the brain. However, they have been associated with a side effect called impulse control disorder which can change behaviours.
If you are taking dopamine agonists we will have warned you about this. But what do we mean by this and what should you and your family look out for? The behaviours that are most associated with impulse control disorder are gambling, an overactive sex drive, addictive shopping, and binge eating. Spending a lot of time on the internet to the detriment of everything else can be a warning sign. What sites are you looking at – there are plenty of ways to gamble online, shop and also endless ways to access pornography, sex chat lines and so on. These kinds of sites can be addictive and some people find that they can think of nothing else. Continue reading Liz Scott (Nov 2012)
As I write, the weather is atrocious. I hope by the time you read this we are looking back on a summer of BBQs and picnics.
When you come to see Dr Jackson or me, we often urge you to walk. What is so good about walking regularly? I used to think that walking was not strenuous enough to benefit health and wellbeing but there is evidence to the contrary. In one study a group of people were told to walk briskly for 30 minutes three to five times a week. This could be done in 10-minute blocks with rests in between. After 12 weeks, they were compared with a control group of people of a similar age who were inactive.
Walkers showed improvements in fitness, blood pressure, and lost about an inch off their waist. But it’s not all about physical health. In another study, middle-aged and elderly inactive people were divided into two groups. Continue reading Liz Scott (Aug 2012)
Happy New Year!
It scarcely seems possible that another year has flown by. I wonder what 2012 will bring?
My focus for 2012 will be to ensure that if any people with Parkinson’s are admitted to hospitals within the Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, they can be confident that they will get their medication on time.
Parkinson’s UK have been running the “Get it on Time” campaign for some years so there is growing awareness of this problem in hospitals.
During 2011 we have made progress, but there are still some instances where lack of understanding has led to delays in getting medication.
This year all late or missed doses will be reported as a clinical incident and this will help to highlight the importance of getting medication on time. Continue reading Liz Scott (Feb 2012)
I cannot believe it is autumn already. What happened to summer? Nights are drawing in and before we know it, it will be two weeks before Christmas.
We are now in the seasonal flu months and if you are offered a flu jab it is a really good idea to take up the offer. Flu can really knock you for six. Every year people are admitted to hospital with flu. Obviously, if you are acutely ill and need drips and intravenous antibiotics, being in hospital will save your life, but once you are recovering it is not always the best place if you have Parkinson’s.
The main difficulty is getting medication on time. Over the next few months we are having a campaign in Stoke Mandeville and Wycombe Hospitals to raise the awareness of the importance of getting medication on time. When you come to see me I will be giving you a list of your current Parkinson’s medications with the correct dosages and times so that if you have to go into hospital you can give this to the doctor who can write up your drugs correctly.
Continue reading Liz Scott (Nov 2011)
I met an amazing lady last week. She was 96 years old and, despite having Parkinson’s, is fit and on the ball. I asked what her secret was and she said “never give in and grow your own vegetables”! As I write, I am perusing various vegetable seed catalogues.
Sometimes Parkinson’s can make you want to sit back and become a passive spectator to what is happening around you. If you think this may be happening to you, try to fight against it. If you can, generate one new idea for an activity every day. It might simply be “let’s go out for lunch” or “let’s go out for a drive/walk/visit”. Your partner will really appreciate not having to initiate every activity.
Some people are more ambitious and I was really inspired to read about John Martin’s flying adventures. This is a fantastic example of not letting life and experiences pass you by. Continue reading Liz Scott (Aug 2011)
It is definitely looking like spring now, and if you are like me, you are thinking about your summer holidays. People often ask me about medication when going away. Whether you are going abroad or staying in the UK, make sure you take enough medication with you – enough to last an extra week for the UK and at least another two weeks’ supply if you are going abroad. Remember the ash cloud last year? Being stranded is bad enough but you don’t want the added worry of not having enough pills.
As you know, taking medication at the correct time is crucial in maintaining good Parkinson’s control. However, when you have an early start or a longer day than usual you need to adjust the times to take an extra dose to get you through the day.
When you are abroad, try to take your medication at local times, rather than sticking to UK times. Continue reading Liz Scott (May 2011)
Happy New Year everyone! I am writing this on New Year’s Eve and wondering what 2011 will bring.
It hardly seems possible that we are entering the second decade of the 21st century but strange things are afoot. England has retained the Ashes in Australia so anything is possible. With each passing year I am convinced that we are nearer to a breakthrough in Parkinson’s treatment. An outright cure is still a long way off but I think that within five or six years we may have medications that can slow or halt the progression of the disease. If you are interested in the latest research into Parkinson’s, the best source of information is the Progress Magazine published by Parkinson’s UK. You can read the magazine on-line at www.parkinsons.org.uk or ask for it to be posted to you by telephoning 01473 212115.
At this time of year we are all vulnerable to coughs, colds and flu. If you have Parkinson’s, you should be offered the flu jab and there is no reason to refuse. If you do become ill, remember your Parkinson’s symptoms will get worse. You may find that you are stiffer, shakier and mobility will suffer. Don’t worry, this is not permanent and once you are over the virus or infection, your symptoms will return to normal. If you suspect an infection, see your GP, who will prescribe antibiotics if necessary. Continue reading Liz Scott (Feb 2011)
I am writing this before I attend the World Parkinson’s Congress in Glasgow at the end of September. It is an unusual meeting because its target audience is people with Parkinsons, carers, doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and scientific researchers. Getting everyone together means that a greater understanding can be achieved between the different groups of the challenges faced in everyday life. For some scientists it will be the first time they have ever met someone with the condition they are studying. I will let you know how I get on and if there is anything new to tell you about. Continue reading Liz Scott (Nov 2010)
Thanks for asking me to write a few words for your brilliant new newsletter. Here are a few of the current things on my mind.
If you are taking Sinemet you may be aware of supply issues. There is a global shortage at present and this is likely to continue into 2011. Please don’t worry. Sinemet is a branded drug but other companies have the recipe and it is available as co-careldopa. If your GP prescribes co-careldopa instead of Sinemet, you should not experience any problems. Continue reading Liz Scott (Aug 2010)