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Samaritan to host Parkinson’s expert Monday

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Samaritan Health System is moving toward creating a Center of Excellence for Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders.

The center, a vision of Anthony E. Joseph, long-term-care director, would involve telemedicine so providers could see residents at Samaritan Keep Home and Samaritan Summit Village without having to take them to various appointments.

“Right now, it’s something we’re looking at doing with all of our long-term-care residents,” said Krista A. Kittle, Samaritan spokeswoman.

According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, more than 1 million people in the nation are living with Parkinson’s. The cause of the movement disorder is unknown. Some people with the disease may experience tremors, a reduction of spontaneous movement, stiffness of limbs, a less expressive face, stooped posture, difficulty swallowing, slurred speech, loss of sense of smell, depression, sleep disturbances or excessive saliva, or a combination of those symptoms.

Ms. Kittle said there are other opportunities in addition to treating Parkinson’s that Samaritan is exploring. Telemedicine, which would connect a patient on one end to a provider on the other through a video conference, also could provide psychiatry services.

“There are some grants available we’re hoping to take advantage of through various sources,” Ms. Kittle said. “That’ll help us get the equipment here.”

Mr. Joseph worked with Parkinson’s expert and researcher Dr. Kevin M. Biglan when Mr. Joseph worked at the Presbyterian Home in New Hartford. Dr. Biglan will speak from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday at Samaritan Summit Village, 22691 Summit Drive, about movement disorders. The free event is open to the public.

Dr. Biglan is an associate professor of neurology and associate chairman for clinical research in the Department of Neurology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He is the director of the National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence and director of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America Center of Excellence at the University of Rochester.

He has developed telemedicine “for the provision of care in patients with Parkinson disease,” and established a telemedicine network at the University of Rochester, according to a news release.

“Telemedicine capabilities will make available a level of expertise in these movement disorders that otherwise would not be available without long distance travel,” Mr. Joseph said in the release.

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