Pars For Parkinson's

An NJ based 501-C3 Charity for Parkinson's Disease

‘Pars for Parkinson’s’ drives for research

January 10, 2013

BY  HOWARD PROSNITZ
STAFF WRITER - TEANECK SUBURBANITE

 

TEANECK - In 2006 Dr. Louis “Lou” Flancbaum noticed a tremor in his right hand and leg. The East Laurelton Parkway resident, who had been a practicing general surgeon for 30 years, conferred with several neurologist colleagues who assured him the tremor was stress related.

Debby and Dr. Louis Flancbaum enjoy spending time with their grandson Isaiah at their home in Teaneck.

ROY CARATOZZOLO III/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Debby and Dr. Louis Flancbaum enjoy spending time with their grandson Isaiah at their home in Teaneck.

But the tremor didn’t go away, and in May 2007 Flancbaum consulted a neurologist who specialized in movement disorders.

“By the time I was done talking with him, I was retired,” said Flancbaum, who was 53 at the time.

Flancbaum discovered he had Parkinson disease, and became one of the 60,000 new cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year, according to the National Parkinson Foundation.

There are no tests for Parkinson disease. The diagnosis is based on a neurological exam. In the two and a half years since his diagnosis, Flancbaum’s symptoms have remained stable – a hopeful sign. He noted that patients in whom the disease progresses slowly in the first few years are more likely to have a slower progression through life than patients whose conditions worsens rapidly from the outset.

Parkinson disease is a progressive degenerative disease of the nervous system causing tremor, stiffening and slowness. Although there is no cure, there are treatments that control symptoms. In general, Parkinson disease is not life threatening but it can produce debilitating complications.

“Most people who have it die with it rather than from it,” Flancbaum said.

Flancbaum can still thread a needle and do many of the activities he did before developing the disease. He noted that recently when a guest at his home lost consciousness, he inserted the IV after the paramedics were unable to.

“But it would be difficult to function as a surgeon with this diagnosis,” he said.

Parkinson’s develops when the brain produces insufficient amounts of dopamine, an important neuro-transmitter that affects not only movement, but blood pressure and other bodily functions, as well as mood. Almost all medicines used to treat Parkinson are dopamine or are dopamine related.