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Survey Examines Patient Perceptions of Nutrition and Diet in Managing the Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

KINGSTON, N.J., March 23, 2016/ -- The Parkinson Alliance conducted its 20th survey-based research, entitled Nutrition in Parkinson’s Disease:  A Closer Look at the Patient’s Perspective.  Nutrition and diet can have a significant impact on one’s health and general sense of well-being.  The survey found that for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), diet and nutrition are particularly important.  Some foods can impact the absorption of medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease and can impact parkinsonian symptoms.  Conversely, PD symptoms and medications can impact one’s eating behaviors and nutritional status.  

Data was gathered from 1,492 individuals with Parkinson’s, including 402 individuals who have had Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS).  The vast majority of participants believe that diet/nutrition is important in managing symptoms of PD, but almost half of the participants perceive themselves as not following a healthy diet the majority of the time, and very few have been educated about or have been recommended to follow a specific diet.  As age and disease duration increase, motor symptoms (i.e., tremor, slowness of movement, swallowing difficulties, etc.) and non-motor symptoms (i.e., constipation, changes in smell and taste, depression, etc.) may be barriers to optimal nutrition and diet management, and increased assistance from others may become necessary.

“Good nutritional management can have a positive impact on well-being for individuals with PD.  The results of this study reinforce the need for a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to addressing the needs of individuals with PD.  For example, in addition to speaking with a movement disorder specialist, it is recommended that individuals with PD speak to a registered dietician and a speech language pathologist regarding food and nutrition and the relationship with symptoms of PD and medications.  Information about and recommendations pertaining to nutrition management and eating behaviors for individuals with PD are discussed in the report," comments Jeffrey Wertheimer, Ph.D., ABPP-CN, clinical neuropsychologist and Chief Research Consultant for The Parkinson Alliance.

Our report is available for download at

About The Parkinson Alliance
The Parkinson Alliance is a national non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for Parkinson’s research and improving the quality of life in the DBS community.  After undergoing bi-lateral DBS in 2000, Margaret Tuchman, President of PA, founded to keep the community informed.

Carol Walton
The Parkinson Alliance