Lower Shore Parkinson's Support Group


Click on the topic below to open questions and answers for each.

Question: What is the Lower Shore Parkinson's Group?

The LSPSG is a support group for people with Parkinson's disease and their care providers.

Question: Where is the group located?

The LSPSG meets at MAC Inc., 909 Progress Circle, Salisbury, MD, 21804

Question: How do I become a member?

You can become a member by simply attending a group meeting. There are no dues.

Question: When does the group meet?

The LSPSG meets the third Wednesday of each month at 2 PM.

Question: How long are the meetings?

Meetings generally last one-and-a-half hours and may include a presentation by a professional with a direct or indirect interest in Parkinson's disease.

Question: What is Parkinson's disease?

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative, progressive disorder that affects predominately dopamine producing neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra.

Question: How common is PD?

Nearly one million Americans and 10 million people worldwide live with PD, with approximately 60,000 people in the U.S. diagnosed with PD each year. It is the second most common neurodegenerative condition after Alzheimer's. The number of people with PD will increase substantially in the next 20 years due to the aging of the population.

Question: What are the symptoms of PD?

Symptoms generally develop slowly over years. The progression is often different from one person to another. People with PD may experience: • Tremor, mainly at rest and described as pill-rolling tremor in hands • Slowness of movements (bradykinesia) • Limb rigidity • Gait and balance problems In addition to movement-related ("motor") symptoms, Parkinson's symptoms may be unrelated to movement ("non-motor"), such as apathy, depression, constipation, sleep behavior disorders, loss of sense of smell and cognitive impairment.

Question: Who does PD affect?

Getting older is the biggest factor for PD with most people diagnosed in their 60s. In rare cases, some people will develop PD before age 50, known as young-onset PD. Men are 1.5 times more likely to have PD than women. Directly inheriting the disease is quite rare. Only about 10 to 15 percent of all cases of Parkinson's are thought to be genetic forms of the disease. In the other 85 to 90 percent of cases, the cause is unknown.

Question: How is PD diagnosed?

There is no diagnostic test for PD. Physicians rely on a combination of clinical exams and tests evaluating symptoms. Often, a Parkinson's diagnosis is first made by a primary care physician. Many people seek an additional opinion from a movement disorder specialist, a neurologist with experience and specific training in the assessment and treatment of PD.

Question: How is Parkinson's treated?

It is possible to have a good to great quality of life with PD. Treatment for each person with Parkinson's is based on his or her symptoms, and may include medication and, later, surgical therapy. Other treatments include lifestyle modifications, like getting more rest and exercise. There are many medications available to treat Parkinson's symptoms, although none yet that reverse the effects of the disease.

Question: Is there a cure for Parkinson's disease?

Although research is ongoing, to date there is no known cure or way to prevent Parkinson's disease. Still, research in Parkinson's disease has made remarkable progress. There is very real hope that the causes, whether genetic or environmental, will be identified and the precise effects of these causes on brain functions will be understood. These remarkable achievements give real hope for the future. Even though there is no cure for Parkinson's disease, by identifying individual symptoms and determining a proper course of treatment, most people with the disease can live enjoyable, fulfilling lives.

Question: What causes PD?

Parkinson's disease is caused by the progressive impairment or deterioration of neurons (nerve cells) in the area of the brain known as the substantia nigra. When functioning normally, these neurons produce a vital brain chemical known as dopamine. Dopamine serves as a chemical messenger allowing communication between the substantia nigra and another area of the brain called the basal ganglia. This communication coordinates smooth and balanced muscle movement. A lack of dopamine results in abnormal nerve functioning, causing a loss in the ability to control body movements.

Question: How prevalent is PD?

As many as 7 to 10 million people worldwide and more than a million in the U.S. may have PD, with 60,000 new cases each year. A recent study estimated there are more than 7,000 cases in the six-county area surrounding Salisbury. Parkinson's disease primarily affects the elderly, with onset of symptoms occurring on average close to age 60, although 10-20% of cases may be "young-onset" under age 40. PD affects approximately 1 in 100 people above age 0 and 1 in 10 above age 80. It is the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's.

Question: What about research?

Research typically falls into one of three categories: (1) development of medicines or techniques to reduce or manage symptoms. (2) discovery or development of neuroprotective agents or processes that will slow or halt the progression of PD or (3) discovery or development of neuroregenerative agents or processes that can reverse the disease. Techniques on the research horizon include gene therapies that target specific regions of the brain; stem cell therapy using a patient's own cells, modified in the lab; and new drug delivery mechanisms such as the transdermal patch, intranasal and inhalation administration, and duadopa therapy (pump infusion directly to the small intestine).

Question: What kind of support is available?

The Lower Shore Parkinson's Support Group, located in Salisbury, meets monthly on the 3rd Wednesday at 2 p.m. at MAC, Inc. there is also a meeting on the 1st Wednesday just for caregivers. The monthly meetings include educational programs and mutual support among fellow group members. Additionally, the group is involved in several initiatives including: A specially designed exercise class named PWR! (Parkinson's Wellness Recovery http://www.pwr4life.org/) is offered weekly on Tuesdays from 5:00 - 6:00 pm. All classes are held at MAC, Inc., 909 Progress Circle in Salisbury, MD 21804. The Lower Shore Table Tennis Club, a program established and run by our support group, will open for business in September, 2014, with six new tables and Robo-Pong robot. Located inside Crown Sports Center south of Fruitland on U.S. Rt. 13 Business, there will initially be three days a week for at least three hours each when support group members may play for free, and the public for a modest access fee. Keep an eye on the calendar for changes in the schedule and visit the LSTT Club page for details and information about our Partners and Sponsors. In collaboration with the Caregivers Resource Center at MAC, Inc. and the Johns Hopkins Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorder Center, a program is now available that provides a free "telemedicine" consultation via the Internet, allowing an individual to have a private video conference with a movement disorder specialist without the cost and time of a day's travel. Efforts are underway to establish "telemedicine" relationships between Johns Hopkins and several medical centers on the Delmarva Peninsula that would permit routine "virtual office visits" reimbursable by Medicare or private insurance. The Delmarva Parkinson's Alliance (www.DelmarvaParkinsonsAlliance.org) is comprised of local support groups from Wilmington, DE to Onancock, VA., with the latest two additions being the group in Seaford, DE, and the Worcester Parkinson's Support Group in Berlin, MD (meetings held at the Ocean Pines Library the 2nd Tuesday at 2:30 pm). Check the DPA website for the location of a group near you. For additional information about any of these initiatives please contact us: By email to PDLowerShore@gmail.com or call (410) 677-1035 Our meetings are free and do not require advance registration. Stop by and join us - we have a great group!