Guest Opinion: Parkinson’s in Portland

World Parkinson Congress draws thousands of researchers, patients, to discuss research, treatment and best practices in Parkinson’s caregiving

Opinion -- Nearly 2,000 Parkinson’s patients came to Portland this week for the World Parkinson Congress, an international event drawing 4,200 researchers, physicians and patients from 67 countries to discuss new research discoveries, treatments and therapies, best practices in care giving, and more. In this unique medical conference, patients and family members attend sessions alongside doctors and researchers, learning from each other and sharing ideas. Local neurologists Dr. Richard Rosenbaum and Dr. Keiran Tuck, both of The Oregon Clinic, are two of the Parkinson specialists who helped ensure Portland was “Parkinson’s Ready” before the event. Together with a team of colleagues at Parkinson's Resources of Oregon, they conducted Parkinson’s Ready trainings for local hospitals, ERs, hotels, restaurants, TSA and Portland International Airport staff, the Portland Police Bureau, and others to ensure that staff and first responders were educated in the symptoms and special needs of Parkinson’s patients.

“Some of the symptoms of Parkinson's, like slurred speech, confusion or shaking, can be misinterpreted as signs of intoxication,” explained Dr. Rosenbaum. “We wanted conference attendees to enjoy their stay in Portland, and wanted to be sure that Parkinson’s patients visiting Portland weren’t accidentally mistreated, or more critically, delayed from getting the right medical attention if the need arose.” Both Dr. Rosenbaum and Dr. Tuck are part of the Portland Parkinson’s Program – a unique collaboration between The Oregon Clinic and Legacy Health. The program provides an interdisciplinary half-day clinic for patients and their families to see multiple specialists (neurologist, medical social worker, physical therapist, speech pathologist) in one place, in a single visit. This “one-stop shopping” style of appointment is hugely beneficial to patients who may tire easily, are traveling long distances, or have trouble with mobility.

Dr. Tuck is also specially trained in managing patients with the Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson’s disease. With DBS, a surgically implanted medical device delivers electrical pulses directly to the patient’s brain to block the abnormal nerve signals that cause Parkinson’s symptoms. This life-changing treatment can eliminate or decrease symptoms and enables patients to reduce medication, improving their quality of life.

Dr. Rosenbaum diagnosed his own father, also a doctor, with Parkinson’s disease during a casual conversation more than 20 years ago. Since then, he has devoted much of his practice to working with Parkinson’s patients as a neurologist for The Oregon

Clinic, serving as the Medical Director of the Portland Parkinson's Program, and as a Clinical Professor of Neurology at Oregon Health Sciences University. His book, Understanding Parkinson’s Disease: A Personal and Professional View, explains the disease, its history, development, treatments and modern research from the perspective of a family member and a doctor.

To contact the Portland Parkinson’s Program, call (503) 488-2424 or visit

Liz Delapoer is a publicist for The Oregon Clinic

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