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UIC News Tips
University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Public Affairs (MC 288)
601 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607-7113, (312) 996-3456, www.uic.edu/depts/paff

April 7, 2000 Contact: Carol Mattar (312) 996-1583; cmattar@uic.edu


Most people with Parkinson's Disease are very educated about traditional therapies, says Dr. Melanie Brandabur, director of the National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence at the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center. But she also wants them to learn how non-traditional therapies such as acupuncture and yoga may also make a difference.

Both types of treatment will be addressed in a free seminar Saturday, April 15, for patients, caregivers and others interested in the disease. The seminar, "Diverse Approaches to Living With Parkinson's Disease," will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Chicago Illini Union, 828 S. Wolcott Ave., and will have concurrent sessions in English and Spanish.

Seminar topics include herbals, nutrition, medication compliance and memory disorders, and there will be workshops on yoga, shiatsu and acupuncture, exercise, speech and swallowing, coping with cognitive decline and salsa dancing. Participants will have an opportunity to practice yoga and exercise techniques, receive a therapeutic shoulder massage and learn to dance. Lunch and parking will be provided without charge.

"There are limits to the relief that traditional therapies can give," Brandabur said. "These non-traditional therapies often provide additional benefits - not only physical, but emotional and spiritual as well. Some patients are seeking them on their own. I want to give them additional information from people I trust so they can be educated consumers about these therapies."

Offering sessions in Spanish is important because Latinos are an underserved part of the Parkinson's population, Brandabur says. "I want to raise awareness that Parkinson's is a highly treatable condition that is very disabling if it's not treated adequately. Treatment can have a dramatic effect on the quality of life, not only of patients, but of their families."

A common misconception in the Hispanic community is that the symptoms of Parkinson's are simply signs of aging, Brandabur says. "If you see someone walking with small steps or who is stooped or has a tremor, you might assume they're just getting old. It's important to recognize that this is a very treatable condition."

Following the seminar, Brandabur and Dr. Abraham Lieberman, medical director of the NPF, will answer questions on a live Webcast from 3 to 4 p.m. on Web M.D., www.my.webmd.com.

Seating for the symposium is limited. To register, call Gloria Mendez, 312-413-9680.

With 25,000 students, the University of Illinois at Chicago is the largest and most diverse university in the Chicago area. UIC is home to the largest medical school in the United States and is one of the 88 leading research universities in the country. Located just west of Chicago's Loop, UIC is a vital part of the educational, technological and cultural fabric of the area.

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