Archives: 2017

The Quebec Parkinson Network: Remembering Tom Isaacs


The President of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust, Tom Isaacs, passed away unexpectedly on May 31st, at age 49. He was a trailblazer in the Parkinson’s community, and was diagnosed with the disease at 26 years old. His core and personal understanding of the disease, as well as his determination and advocacy, made him an incredible leader in the field.

He pushed several significant components crucial to Parkinson’s research that the Quebec Parkinson Network shares, such as the importance of clinical trial participation, and awareness initiatives.

The QPN offer our condolences to Tom’s family and The Cure Parkinson’s Trust team.


Blog: The 8 Disciplines of a Parkinson’s Patient


Posted on the Micheal J. Fox Foundation Blog, by author Stephen Bergenholtz.

Stephen Bergenholtz talks about how he adjusted his lifestyle and mindset to overcome the loss of motivation associated with his Parkinson’s, through a list he called the “8 Disciplines of a Parkinson’s Patient”. He writes about how his substitute for loss of motivation is simply discipline, or regular repetition of an activity until it eventually becomes comfortable.

  1. I will meet regularly with my doctor, follow his or her advice and find a new doctor if he or she becomes unavailable.

  2. I will take my prescribed medications, track my medication supplies and discuss any side effects with my doctor.

  3. I will follow a personalized exercise program in consultation with medical and fitness professionals.

  4. I will make good sleep habits a priority and reduce factors which inhibit me from getting a good night’s rest.

  5. I will foster an attitude of optimism and well-being and strive to alleviate stress through fun and healthy activities.

  6. I will remain engaged with my family, friends, caregivers and others, resisting the tendency to withdraw socially.

  7. I will read about maintaining a positive outlook grounded in my faith beliefs or my spiritual development.

  8. I will contribute to the Parkinson’s community by giving my time, talents, money, or by participating in medical trials.

New Evidence shows Parkinson’s could be Autoimmune Disease


A new article posted in Nature, Journal of Science suggests that Parkinson’s could be an autoimmune disorder, in which the immune system mistakenly attacks parts of the body. David Sulzer and his team at Columbia University studied brain tissue samples postmortem, and discovered that dopamine-producing neurons do display antigens.

The prevailing thought in Parkinson’s research has been that the disease begins with clumping of a protein called synuclein in the brain, which causes neighbouring dopamine-producing neurons to die—the result of this being tremors and difficulty moving associated with Parkinson’s.

This appears to be the first evidence that the immune system plays a major pathological role in Parkinson’s. However despite the findings by Sulzer, they are still looking into whether the neuron death is caused by immune response, or if it is a side effect of the disease.

Either way, the research found could lead to new ways to treat the illness.

—Source: Nature, Journal of Science (

Eye Test has potential for Early Diagnosis of Parkinson’s


A new technique developed by researchers in University College London (UCL), involves in depth examination of the eye which allows doctors to see individual nerve cell death in the back of the eye. Initially clinical trials were carried out on glaucoma patients, but nerve cell death is also associated with neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, and so the hope is through the technique, earlier detection of Parkinson’s symptoms will become common.

The technique is called DARC, or the Detection of Apoptosing Retinal Cells. It uses a fluorescent marker that attaches to cell proteins when injected into patients, and this allows more visibility and clearer detection of the retinal nerve cell situation.


Notice: McGill researchers receive $7M to fight brain diseases of aging


The Weston Brain Institute awards over $30 million nationally for high-risk, high-reward translational research projects to help speed up the development of treatments for neurodegenerative diseases of aging. The Institute is Canada’s largest privately funded national initiative aimed at accelerating breakthrough discoveries for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases of aging, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and frontotemporal dementia.

Of the researchers that received funding, there is Dr. Marta Kaminska (Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine/ RI-MUHC), who focuses on respiratory issues, particularly sleep-related breathing disorders, in neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease (PD). With the funding from the Weston Institute, she will be examining the effects of long-acting levodopa (a chemical precursor of dopamine and a standard PD treatment) on obstructive sleep apnea in PD patients in a pilot proof-of-concept trial.

Congratulations and best of luck to all the recipients!

VIDEO: Ask the MD about Exercise and Parkinson’s


Exercise is one of the most effective ways to manage Parkinson’s disease and to lessen the magnitude of its symptoms.

This new Ask the MD video from the Michael J Fox Foundation outlines the ways in which exercise can help anyone at any stage of Parkinson’s disease.

Dr Dolhun explains that dance can help with coordination issues, and yoga and tai chi are great for postural instability and loss of balance. She adds that whether it’s cycling, golfing, swimming, boxing, or anything else, if you enjoy it and feel safe while doing it, you’re more likely to stick to it and see a greater improvement in your quality of life. The best plan is to work with your doctor and a physical therapist to devise an exercise routine that works for you.

To read more about exercise and Parkinson’s, click on the links below:


Parkinson’s Stories: Luc Larochelle, Journalist


Luc Larochelle is a La Presse columnist who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s three years ago. He is also a QPN member who hopes to contribute to the advancement of Parkinson’s research.

He recently wrote an article about his time at the Sherbrooke Parkinson’s Congress, which he attended as a reporter and as a fellow PD patient:

He wrote this article about the same event after speaking with a Neurologist and another Parkinson’s patient, Linda Bérard:

This last article was written by Larochelle after speaking with Dr. Marcelle Roy, whose own Parkinson’s diagnosis eventually led to her leaving her family medicine clinic earlier than she’d wanted to.


REMINDER: Symposium on Neuroimaging in Parkinson’s Disease and Related Disorders


A symposium on Neuroimaging in Parkinson’s Disease and Related Disorders will be held in Calgary, on June 9th and 10th 2017, just after the Movement Disorders Congress in Vancouver.

This course is organized by Oury Monchi, Ph.D. and Antonio P. Strafella, MD, Ph.D. It features an internationally renowned faculty of researchers, scientists and clinicians who will present on advances in neuroimaging techniques to understand the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and related movement disorders, to diagnose parkinsonian syndromes and monitor disease progression.

All information on how to apply and attend this course can be found at the link below:

Video: The Neuro’s Open Science Clinical Biological Imaging and Genetic Repository

We’ve recently published a video showing how everything works at the CBIG Repository, and we invite you to take a look at the link below.

To learn more visit:

Parkinson’s Stories: A Physiotherapist, 45, with Parkinson’s


Carl Montpetit was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at 43, and has described the diagnosis as “a slap in the face with a 2×4″. However, in the last two years, he has become involved with the Parkinson’s community and insists on speaking out about the disease to help minimize the stigma that PD patients can feel.

He doesn’t experience the most commonly-known symptom of PD- tremors- but he does experience muscular rigidity and slowness of movement, and has lost his sense of smell. He is constantly looking to learn more about Parkinson’s, and sees Michael J. Fox as a role model- the actor was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 30 and founded the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

To read more about Mr. Montpetit, click the link below to read an article from La Presse.