Movement Disorders / Parkinson's Program

Overview

Parkinson’s Disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, affecting over a million Americans, and is under-recognized in its early stages. It has diverse effects, from stiffness and pain, to unusual involuntary movements and tremors.

Early diagnosis and medical management greatly improve the quality of life for those affected.

Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute’s Movement Disorders Program had its origins in 1994 with emphasis on specialized patient evaluation, advanced medical therapy and community support groups throughout Orange County. The program treats patients with movement disorders including Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, essential tremor and gait problems, enabling them to achieve their highest level of independence.

One of the latest innovations offered is the minimally invasive implantation of a small intestinal tube through which a constant infusion of Doupa, a new formulation of carbo-levodopa, provides a steady state blood level of the drug using a small wearable pump (just like in diabetics). This minimizes the “downtime” Parkinson’s patients feel between oral drug intake. For the 71 patients who have been treated with this device to date, the functionality improvement has been significant.

Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Outpatient Visits

*2018 volume reflects loss of ½ FTE clinician, replaced in 2019
*2018 volume reflects loss of ½ FTE clinician, replaced in 2019

Additionally, our program has long incorporated a very active Deep Brain Surgery surgical treatment with our neurosurgical lead, Christopher Duma, M.D., who has longstanding experience with some of the highest annual volumes in Southern California. Targeted therapy is team based and provided in the Outpatient Rehabilitation Department with physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists who have extensive training and experience in assessment and treatment of movement disorders. Additionally, they offer several forced-use exercise classes, “Power Over Parkinson’s” classes, and a driving rehabilitation program.

Dr. Duma calibrating stereotactic hardware for a deep brain stimulator implant in the OR
Dr. Duma calibrating stereotactic hardware for a deep brain stimulator implant in the OR

The Movement Disorders Program supports the community of people with Parkinson’s disease and their families by offering 10 support groups, an Annual Parkinson’s Disease Symposium and Parkinson’s wellness patient education programs throughout the year.

X-ray of a patient with deep brain stimulator electrode
X-ray of a patient with deep brain stimulator electrode


MRI study of Parkinson’s patient with bilateral deep brain stimulator electrode implants MRI study of Parkinson’s patient with bilateral deep brain stimulator electrode implants
MRI study of Parkinson’s patient with bilateral deep brain stimulator electrode implants

Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy Total Volume

Volume of New DBS Patients and Surgeries

Number of People with Parkinson's Disease Admitted as Inpatients

Team

The Movement Disorders Program has three movement disorders neurologists with combined expertise of 50 years in managing patients with movement disorders. The program is led by Program Director Sandeep Thakkar, D.O. (neurologist), Janet Chance, M.D. (neurologist), and most recently added Saulena Shafer, D.O. (neurologist), Christopher Duma, M.D., F.A.C.S. (neurosurgeon), and Julie Treat, M.S.N., R.N. (nurse navigator).

Support & Education

A multidisciplinary case conference is held each month to review complex patient cases. This unique forum offers the opportunity for members of all disciplines, including physicians, nurses, physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and other health care professionals to share information about innovative new therapies. All patients who are candidates for surgery are reviewed by this team to optimize care. Patients benefit from this combined expertise and experience.

To learn more, visit the Movement Disorders Program section or call 949-764-6066.