Understanding How Nonmotor Symptoms Worsens Parkinson Disease Condition: Jill Farmer, DO, MPH

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The assistant professor of neurology and director of the Parkinson’s Disease & Movement Disorder Program at Global Neurosciences Institute discussed the need to understand the chemical markers that trigger nonmotor symptoms of Parkinson disease. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

"Anyone who takes care of patients with Parkinson disease will tell you that the nonmotor symptoms can be even more problematic, whether its cognitive pain, balance issues—things like that. They can be quite overwhelming and difficult to manage simply with dopaminergic therapies alone."

Although Parkinson disease (PD) is typically thought of as a motor movement disorder, there are several other, nonmotor health problems related to the condition that some patients believe are more detrimental than the motor issues themselves. These nonmotor symptoms can include cognitive changes, constipation, early satiety, fatigue, hallucinations and delusions, loss of sense of smell or taste, mood disorders, and sleep disorders, among others.

Addressing motor issues such as slowness of movement, tremor, stiffness and postural instability has been the main focus of drug development, with little regulatory success to show for these nonmotor symptoms. As someone who treats patients with PD, Jill Farmer, DO, MPH, believes it is time to start exploring new mechanisms of action that have potential to treat these concerns. Farmer, assistant professor of neurology and director of the Parkinson’s Disease & Movement Disorder Program at Global Neurosciences, also feels it might be worth looking at medications that do not solely focus on dopamine, but other chemical markers that may be in play.

In an interview with NeurologyLive®, Farmer discussed the need for new medications that address nonmotor symptoms of PD and why it is important to understand where the chemical imbalances are coming from. She also touched on the COVID-19 pandemic’s profound effect on both the motor and nonmotor symptoms for this population.