Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas Opens Parkinson's Disease Information, Referral Center

Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas (Baylor Dallas) has announced the opening of an American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) Information and Referral (I&R) Center on April 1 to support patients and caregivers affected by Parkinson's disease. The center will provide free services, including literature on Parkinson's disease, a library of books and tapes, referrals to community resources, counseling services, respite and outpatient therapy, support groups and physician referral information. 

The APDA Information and Referral Center at Baylor Dallas will serve as a regional "hub" for all of North Texas, processing requests received by mail, phone and on-site visits. The center will be located in Baylor Medical Plaza, 3600 Gaston Avenue, Suite 202, and can be reached at 214-820-3800 or 1-877- NEURO 03.

"Opening an I&R Center at Baylor Dallas provides us the outstanding opportunity of teaming with a nationally recognized neuroscience center to help meet the support needs of individuals living with Parkinson's and their caregivers," said Fred A. Greene, APDA executive committee member. 

APDA will work in conjunction with the Baylor Neuroscience Center at Baylor Dallas to staff the center. Cole Giller, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., neurosurgeon on the medical staff at Baylor Dallas, will serve as medical director of the center, which will also have a full-time coordinator. 

"Our goal for the Information and Referral Center is to help meet the practical, emotional, and health care needs of patients and caregivers in order to improve their quality of life," said Dr. Giller. "The Center makes finding services easier and more convenient for patients throughout North Texas." 

APDA's North Texas Chapter, led by president David Blaylock, is a non-profit group of individuals and families that support the work of APDA and will work closely with the new center at Baylor Dallas to initiate support groups and present programs, seminars and symposia. 

"Working with our local chapters, APDA centers make a unique contribution to responding to the particular needs of people affected by Parkinson's disease," said Jerry Wells, APDA executive committee member. "Our mission at the APDA is to ‘ease the burden and find a cure' for Parkinson's disease, and these centers are an integral part of helping us meet that goal." 

A Chronic, Progressive Disease
Affecting approximately 1.5 million people in the United States, Parkinson's disease is caused by degeneration (dysfunction and death) of neurons within the brain, according to the APDA. The disease causes motor (movement) and non-motor symptoms. 

The four primary symptoms of Parkinson's disease, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), are tremor, or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw and face; rigidity, or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; bradykinesia, or slowness of movement; and postural instability, or impaired balance and coordination. As these symptoms become more pronounced, patients may have difficulty walking, talking or completing other simple tasks. Parkinson's disease is both chronic, meaning it persists over a long period of time, and progressive, meaning its symptoms grow worse over time. 

At present, there is no cure for Parkinson's disease, but a variety of medications are available that can provide dramatic relief from the symptoms, according to the NINDS. 

Baylor Neuroscience Center Offers Options for Parkinson's Patients
The APDA I&R Center is the newest service available through the Baylor Neuroscience Center, which offers comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for patients with neuromuscular disorders, including Parkinson's disease. Because there are no cures for many neuromuscular disorders, the center gives patients access to advanced clinical research studies with a focus on neuroprotection. 

Sophisticated neuroimaging technology is used for diagnosis, and treatment procedures may range from physical, occupational and speech therapies to transcranial magnetic stimulation and deep brain stimulation. Deep brain stimulation suppresses tremor and improves other symptoms of Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders by delivering an electrical signal to specific regions in the brain. 

"APDA's Information and Referral Center compliments the advanced medical care we offer our patients to give them a full range of services for meeting all of their needs," said Gary Tunell, M.D., medical director of neurology services and physician on the medical staff at Baylor Dallas.

To treat patients with movement disorders, the Neuroscience Center integrates the expertise and services of Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation, Baylor Research Institute, and the Baylor Dallas departments of Neurosurgery, Neuropathology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine. 

APDA Promotes Better Quality of Life
Headquartered in New York, the APDA is the country's largest grassroots organization serving the Parkinson's community which focuses its energies on research, patient support, education and raising public awareness of the disease. Each year APDA contributes more than $3 million for research and another $3 million for direct patient and caregiver support. APDA's mission to find a cure and promoting a better quality of life for the Parkinson's community is actualized through its expanding network of 56 chapters, 62 I&R centers, and 1,000 support groups across the United States. 

About Baylor Dallas
Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, a 1002-bed not-for-profit academic hospital, is a major patient care and research center in the southwest. The nationally acclaimed medical center serves as flagship hospital for Baylor Health Care System and has earned Magnet status for "Excellence in Nursing Services" from the American Nurses Credentialing Center -- the organization's highest level of recognition. 

In addition to its Level 1 trauma center, Baylor Dallas is also home to many nationally ranked centers of excellence including transplant, cardiovascular services, orthopaedics, oncology, digestive diseases, neurosciences and gynecology. In 2007, U.S.News & World Report recognized Baylor Dallas in seven specialty areas for the 15th consecutive year in its "America's Best Hospitals" guide. 

Facts: Parkinson's Disease

  • Parkinson's disease (PD) affects approximately 1.5 million people in the United States, with approximately 50,000 new cases reported annually.
  • Usually affects people over the age of 50
  • Strikes about 50 percent more men than women
  • Higher incidence in developed countries
  • Estimated 15 to 25 percent of people with PD have a known relative with the disease.

Parkinson's Disease: Early Signs and Symptoms

  • Mild tremors
  • Speaking too softly
  • Handwriting that is slow and looks cramped or small
  • Losing track of words or thoughts
  • Lack of facial expression or animation
  • Physically stiff, unsteady or unusually slow

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Physicians are members of the medical staff at one of Baylor Health Care System's subsidiary, community or affiliated medical centers and are neither employees nor agents of those medical centers, Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas or Baylor Health Care System.

Contact: Maria Carpenter, (214) 820-4827

About Baylor Scott & White Health
As the largest not-for-profit health system in the state of Texas, Baylor Scott & White promotes the health and well-being of every individual, family and community it serves. It is committed to making quality care more accessible, convenient and affordable through its integrated delivery network, which includes the Baylor Scott & White Health Plan, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute, the Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance and its leading digital health platform – MyBSWHealth. Through 51 hospitals and more than 1,200 access points, including flagship academic medical centers in Dallas, Fort Worth and Temple, the system offers the full continuum of care, from primary to award-winning specialty care. Founded as a Christian ministry of healing more than a century ago, Baylor Scott & White today serves more than three million Texans. For more information, visit: