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“How to Live Well with Parkinson’s Disease” with Dr. Jason Aldred

Episode 4: “How to Live Well with Parkinson’s Disease” with Dr. Jason Aldred

  • Dr. Aldred initially studied Greek and Latin, as well as the study of consciousness and the idea of free will. This led him to an interest in neuroscience and how the brain controls movement of the body.
  • The first topic we discuss surrounds the early signs and symptoms of PD, as well as how it’s diagnosed in his clinic. People with Parkinson’s display several key characteristics, including: slowness, stiffness, resting tremor, and postural changes. Stiffness and pain are often associated symptoms, and reports of shoulder pain are especially common.
  • Interesting fact: only 2 out of 3 people with PD will have a resting tremor. You can still have PD without one.
  • What is Parkinson’s? Dr. Aldred covers the degenerative changes in the brain (in the substantia nigra), which leads to a lower production of dopamine. This decrease in dopamine is responsible for the changes in movement patterns.
  • Topic #2 was all about effective treatment strategies for Parkinson’s. Dr. Aldred likes to tell his patients that there are 4 things they need to do: exercise, exercise, exercise! Combine this approach with skilled therapies when needed (physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy), as well as medical interventions, and people with PD have a very good chance at living an active and fulfilling life!
  • He also breaks down treatment into 3 categories: exercise, medicine and advanced treatment options. There are exercises specific to PD, as well as medications that can mimic the effects of dopamine (levadopa is the primary medication). For more advanced PD, there are 2 main options: levadopa pumps and DBS (deep brain stimulation). Dr. Aldred explains these options in detail during the episode.
  • Topic #3 was in regards to other issues associated with Parkinson’s. Many people tend to focus on the motor/movement issues. However, there are quite a few other “non-motor” issues that need to be considered and worked on. These include the following: difficulty sleeping, cognitive issues, depression, anxiety and low blood pressure.
  • As you can see, Parkinson’s is not just a movement disorder! And I think that’s what makes Dr. Aldred and his team so special: the fact that they appreciate and pay attention to all the other factors that contribute to their patients’ overall quality and enjoyment of life.
  • Topic #4 included a discussion of the various resources for people with PD, including resources for spousal and/or caregiver support. After all, if your spouse has PD, it can have quite an impact on your life as well. Here’s the link to our local resource in Spokane, which is the NW Parkinson’s Foundation: The contact person in Spokane is Halle Goodwin, and she’s an awesome resource. Her phone number is 443-3361.
  • Dr. Aldred also talks about some of the newest research about Parkinson’s, which he’s heavily involved with via “Inland NW Research”. For updates, visit this website:
  • We wrapped up the interview with several fun questions about things like his favorite foods and activities, so make sure to listen to the very end!
  • If you’d like to learn more about working with Dr. Aldred, you can visit his clinic’s website at or give them a call at 473-0885.
  • Thanks for listening! – Luke Gordon   
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