AUDIOLOGY AND PARKINSON’S INSTITUTES TO PRESENT NEW RESEARCH ON PARKINSON’S ASSOCIATED FALL PREVENTION AT AUDIOLOGYNOW!

March 15, 2012

Newport-Mesa Audiology, Balance and Ear Institute and The Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Institute to present “Vestibular Dysfunction in Parkinson’s Disease” at American Academy of Audiology research conference in Boston, March 28-31, 2012.


NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (March 15, 2012) – Newport-Mesa Audiology, Balance and Ear Institute and The Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Institute announced today they will present new research on vestibular dysfunction associated with Parkinson’s disease and the use of vestibular rehabilitation therapy to prevent falls at the AudiologyNOW! conference in Boston, March 28-31, 2012. The research session entitled “Vestibular Dysfunction in Parkinson’s Disease” is scheduled on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Room: 257A at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

According to the research abstract, “Significant peripheral and central vestibular dysfunction was found in a group of nine Parkinson’s patients of which only a third of the abnormality would be detected with traditional ENG/VNG testing. With proper testing, identification of these abnormalities can be treated with vestibular rehabilitation therapy preventing falls, a major source of fatality in Parkinson’s disease.”

Research presenters and contributors include:

– Cara Makuta, Au.D., Newport-Mesa, Audiology, Balance and Ear Institute
– Howard Mango, Ph.D., Newport-Mesa, Audiology, Balance and Ear Institute
– Karen Frei, M.D., The Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Institute
– Daniel Truong, M.D., The Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Institute (contributor)

According to Dr. Frei, imbalance and falls are commonplace in Parkinson’s disease. Loss of postural reflexes is one of the cardinal features of the disorder, however this tends to occur several years following the onset of symptoms. Complaints of imbalance and dizziness are common in Parkinson’s patients. The patients are often not clear when asked to describe their symptoms and many will state they “feel as if they are going to fall”. Oftentimes, descriptions of their symptoms are similar to vertigo.

According to Dr. Makuta, significant peripheral and central vestibular dysfunction in these Parkinson’s patients was found. Traditional test standards identified vestibular weakness in 33 percent of these patients suggesting traditional test measures are insufficient to identify vestibular compromise. The abnormality found in more comprehensive testing reflects peripheral vestibular dysfunction. This data suggests a risk for vestibular weakness in Parkinson’s patients increasing their imbalance and risk of falling. Utilizing the appropriate diagnostic tools is critical for an appropriate diagnosis and it is important to implement vestibular rehabilitation therapy, which may provide improvement of balance and reduce fall risk.

Researchers noted, much more research in this area needs to be done to confirm these findings using larger numbers of patients.

About The Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Institute:

Foremost, the physicians, research scientists and staff at The Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Institute (www.pmdi.org) all share the common goal of providing superior care to our patients in the treatment of neurological disorders affecting movement. It is our belief that people who must cope with symptoms or illness have enhanced quality of life when they understand their diagnosis and treatment plan, and when they are informed and active participants in their own health care. We also know that we learn and improve as physicians from our experiences with all of our patients. In our clinical practice we encourage a relationship of open communication between patient and physician.

About Newport-Mesa Audiology Balance and Ear Institute:

Newport-Mesa Audiology Balance and Ear Institute (www.dizziland.com) is one of the country’s leading institutes for the research, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients with dizziness, vertigo and balance disorders. A team of doctors of audiology work with state-of-the-art technology in the areas of vestibular diagnosis and rehabilitation. The Institute is also one of the nation’s most well-equipped audiological facilities, serving an ever-growing number of adult, teen and pediatric cases. The Institute receives referrals from a broad network of physicians including neurologists, otolaryngologists, internal medicine, cardiologists and family physicians. For more information, call (888) 371-3920.