Thursday, July 31, 2008

visit to the specialist

Yesterday John saw a Parkinson's specialist at Medical University of South Carolina, Dr. Bergmann. In our last visit, he said he wanted neuropsychological testing before he saw John again. John had that testing at the end of May, and I was upset when the psychologist presented the results as showing that John was not significantly impaired.

Dr. Bergmann viewed the test results quite differently. He said that a 37 point difference between verbal and performance IQ was not something you would see in normal Parkinson's. He said the block design test is the canary in the coal mine for Lewy Body Disease, and that was John's lowest score. He also thought John's 40th percentile on letter and category fluency was signficant.

He increased John's sinemet (to one 100/25 four times a day) to help his increasing Parkinson's symptoms but told us to be careful about dopamine discontrol syndrome and said that punding is particularly characteristic of Sinemet. He said to John that he needs to understand that one of the symptoms of the disease is lack of insight and that he needs to trust me.

Dr. Bergman didn't increase the Aricept above the 5 mg. John is taking. Dr. Bergman said that Aricept tends to makes the Parkinson's symptoms worse so he keeps the dose low, and that its positive cognitive effect builds up gradually over several months.

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