The University of Florida Center for Movement Disorders & Neurorestoration has a full complement of experts in several disciplines. Neurologists, neuropsychologists, neurosurgeons, neuroscientists, neurophysicists, psychiatrists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists. Over 25 faculty members and over 30 students and residents make up one of the most dynamic Movement Disorders Centers in the country.
The Center is considered one of the leading Parkinson Foundation (PF) Centers of Excellence (COE). Since 2003, it has been a PF-designated Continuing Care Center, Research Center, and Outreach Center.
Kids and adults suffering from Tourette syndrome and tic disorders need an interdisciplinary environment for treatment, and also an opportunity to participate in cutting edge research.
UF was awarded a one million dollar grant to continue to see patients with ataxias and also to form the world’s largest research network working on ataxias. The network aims to develop a better understanding of the epidemiology, the pathogenesis, the genetics, and the potential treatments.
Huntington disease (HD) is a progressive neurological disorder that is characterized by the development of chorea, or “dancing-like” movements, that are frequently associated with behavioral and cognitive problems. The UF Health HD Clinic is designated an HDSA Center of Excellence, one of 39 centers designated in the United States, and serves Florida and surrounding regions.
This interdisciplinary clinic is run as a partnership between the UF Health Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration (Dr. Nikolaus McFarland) and the College of Health and Human Performance (Dr. Chris Hass).
This specialized clinic for Lewy body and Parkinson disease dementia was recently added and is headed by Dr. Melissa Armstrong. Evaluation, care, and research opportunities directed at Lewy body/PD-dementias are provided.
In 2008 the UF Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration was designated as the first Tyler’s Hope Center for Comprehensive Dystonia Care. Through this designation, we are now able to provide a world-class, “concierge service” to every new patient seen at our center with dystonia. During scheduling, the staff interviews the patient and family and identifies other areas of need (such as social services, physical therapy, psychotherapy, etc) so that they can be simultaneously scheduled during the clinic visit, providing true interdisciplinary care. We have created similar “signature” programs in care, education and outreach for our dystonia patients.
In 2005, University of Florida researchers published a seminal study on deep brain stimulation (DBS) failures. The study examined all of the reasons why a DBS device may fail and identified and laid out for the field the potential causes of DBS failures and how to correct them. Issues identified included problems with patient selection, the DBS procedure itself (misplaced DBS leads, sub-optimally placed DBS leads), post-operative programming, and/or post-operative medication adjustments.
Therapies and Treatments
Botulinum toxin has been used with great success to improve dystonia and other movement disorders. At UF this is one of the busiest botox clinics in the world and we use all available serotypes and participate in multiple clinical trials. Additionally, Dr. Rodriguez and Dr. Malaty are part of many national teaching courses on Botulinum toxin. Patients should be aware that uses of the toxin may extend beyond dystonia, and may help pain, drooling and other issues.
Although medication is often used to treat symptoms, occupational therapy intervention can help a person maintain maximum function in daily activities and enable individuals to live meaningful lives.
Physical therapy helps the patient to manage physical dysfunctions that commonly occur with movement disorders. The goal of physical therapy is to restore function, promote wellness, and to improve the patient’s quality of life. Common topics of discussion with our therapists include: fall prevention, assistive devices such as walkers or canes, home modifications, proper footwear, energy conservation strategies, exercise regimens, compensatory strategies to decrease freezing of gait, the current treatments available for movement disorders, and much more! Local patients can continue their therapy at multiple Shands Rehab locations in Gainesville or at home with Shands Homecare. For our out-of-town patients, we creat a plan of care and assist in coordinating therapy at a location in their hometown that is knowledgeable in the treatment of movement disorders.
Speech Language Pathology is a rehabilitation service that treats patients for problems they are having with their speech, voice or language. Speech pathologists also help evaluate and treat swallow problems that can occur with Parkinson’s disease. We have dedicated clinics to patients with voice, swallowing or speech problems and have developed therapies to help them. They have developed cutting edge technology to examine speech, swallowing, and cough and recently invented a device to prevent aspiration pneumonia in Parkinson’s disease (Neurology, 2010). The new center has a cough meter, a voice meter, and a swallowing suite all in the same location.