Meredith Defranco

Local Parkinson’s Community Fights Back

There has been a growing buzz in the Parkinson community about boxing as a means to combat symptoms and improve function, especially after CBS aired a feature on “Sunday Morning” about Rock Steady. The gyms carryout non-contact boxing fitness curriculum specifically for PD. Rock Steady is a non-profit organization that is expanding throughout the country.…

Walk On! The benefits of walking for people living with Parkinson’s Disease

By Bryan Dondero, SPT University of Vermont Imagine for a minute that you have just met with your doctor and they told you they are going to write you a prescription for a new wonder drug that will not only address your Parkinsonian symptoms like balance and walking, 1 but will also improve your mood,…

Physical Therapy Tips for Exercise

Exercise is a hot topic in Parkinson’s disease and additional neurodegenerative diseases because we continue to discover its “neuroprotective” benefit. What does “neuroprotective” even mean? How can all of the exercise research be translated into everyday life activities? What I like to explain to our patients is that exercise can help DELAY the rate of…

Physical Therapy Tips to manage retropulsion

Retropulsion in Parkinson’s disease is the force that contributes to loss of balance in a backwards or posterior direction. Retropulsion occurs due to a worsening of postural stability and an associated loss of postural reflexes. You may be familiar with the “pull test” that your neurologist performs to check your stability. Your doctor will stand…

Winning the Battle Against Parkinson’s Disease One Step at a Time

July 4th of this year not only marked the nation’s birthday, but also a victory in the continued battle we are fighting against Parkinson ’s disease. James Hulbert, an accomplished writer, is a patient of our clinic who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2008. I first met Jim back in December 2011 for a…

Therapy Tips to Prevent Falls in Your Home

Postural instability is a common feature of Parkinson Disease. As a result of delayed reaction time, rigidity, bradykinesia, and poor control of the center of mass, falls occur. Falls are a leading cause of bone fractures, brain injuries, hospitalizations, and mortality of persons with Parkinson Disease. What can YOU do to protect yourself or your…

Physical Therapy Tips for Posture Improvement in Parkinson’s Disease

Poor posture is a hallmark feature of Parkinson’s disease. This stooped positioning has been associated with increased muscle rigidity or stiffness. The typical Parkinson’s posture includes: forward head, rounded shoulders, increased thoracic kyphosis, increased flexion of the trunk, and bending of the knees. How can poor posture affect you? Difficulty speaking clearly and loudly Difficulty…

Parkinson’s Tips for Freezing of Gait from our Physical Therapist

Our favorite tape to use is the blue “painter’s tape” because it is bright and easy to see! At the University of Florida Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration a patient can partake in a physical therapy evaluation that includes an analysis of your gait. Freezing of gait occurs in Parkinson’s disease and can contribute…

OT students teach Parkinson’s Exercise class!

The UF Occupational Therapy students have been given a special opportunity to host our weekly group exercise class for Parkinson’s patients. Last week the students prepared Halloween themed games and exercises. Spooky fun was had by all! Thank you students for a great job! ~Lisa Warren and Meredith DeFranco **Join us every Thursday night at…