Thank you to all who joined us for any of our PD Education Hours, with live viewings and discussions on select topics pertaining to PD.  If you missed any of them, or would like to see a presentation again, you can watch them at the links below.  We have also posted some handouts and articles for your reading pleasure.

DISCLAIMER:  The information provided is for educational purposes only.  Please seek the advice of a medical professional for any questions you may have.

Zoom link to join any upcoming LIVE PD Education Hour:


Meeting ID: 834 2254 8204
Passcode: pep4u

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4/30/21:  My Favorite Type of Exercise - Cognitive

Sponsor:  PEP4U

Presenter(s):  Allyson Lehrich, Cognitive Care Solutions

Duration:  50 mins + Q&A (optional)


Do you ever have trouble expressing your thoughts or opinions?  I know you are surprised to hear that I have that problem regularly.  I can’t quite decide on the best way or perfect words to communicate my thoughts.  If I were to tell you that this is a common non-motor symptom of Parkinson’s Disease, would you believe me?  Of course, you would; it’s likely just one more component in your own formulation of PD.

I invited our special guest Allyson Lehrich to help us cope with common cognitive issues.  Some are geriatric; others are likely PD-related.  These include memory loss, reasoning, processing speed, concentration, and a host of other cognitive issues.  Allyson is president of Cognitive Care Solutions here in OC.  She is a licensed clinical social worker who has spent more than two decades assisting seniors and their families.  Allyson excels at identifying the clinical aspects of senior cognitive states.

Allyson teaches the benefits of exercising (can’t get away from exercise, ever) our brains in a fun and educational class.  She will focus on the issues already listed.  The exercises are fun (think of Wheel of Fortune) and will, I guarantee, challenge you cognitively.

Are you up for the challenge?  I hope so.  Join this session of PD Education Hour on Friday the 30th at 10:30 AM PDT.  And don’t forget to checkout the additional resources listed below.


I’ve included a link to the Cognitive Care Solutions website.  They can be reached at 714.545.3390.  Check out Allyson’s free weekly brain exercise classes, currently held online.  Several PEP4U participants have already enjoyed the classes.  Just send Allyson a note at allysonl@cognitivecaresolutions.com.

PS:  No sweats or yoga mats are needed for this session of PEP4U Education Hour

Video Link:


Additional Resources:

Cognitive Care Solutions:


AARP - Staying Sharp / Brain Games:


Book - Keep Your Brain Alive Exercises:


Book - Keep Sharp / Build a Better Brain:


Please consider supporting our programs with a regular monthly donation


4/16/21:  Dysphagia, the Silent Killer, and How to Prevent It

Sponsor:  9th Annual Parkinson’s Disease Patient and Caregiver Conference

Presenter(s):  Missouri University - Health Care University Hospital

Duration:  40 mins



This week’s topic could literally save your life.  Learn how dysphagia leads to the #1 cause of death for us people with Parkinson’s (PwPs) – aspirational pneumonia (AP).

AP occurs when food, saliva, or liquid is breathed into the lungs instead of being swallowed.  AP leads to infections of the lung – an often-fatal condition.


After watching this webinar, you will understand how dangerous this condition is for PwPs.


Are you at risk of dysphagia?  Have a cup of water and a pretzel at hand to test your risk.  A simple drink and chew experiment will serve as a self-awareness test. 


What’s the best prevention approach?  Hold for it …..exercise.  You knew that was coming, right?  This presentation includes simple mouth exercises that will reduce the risk of dysphagia and minimize or eliminate the common PD-triggered drooling.


Don’t forget to have a glass of water and hard bread (pretzel, cracker) available for the self-test.


PEP4U Video Link:


Webinar link(s):

Dysphagia the silent killer:


Dysphagia animation:



Swallowing techniques:



The Breather – exercise tool:



Additional Resource:

Please consider supporting our programs with a regular monthly donation


3/19/21:  Our Future is in Their Hands

Sponsor:   Ernie Atkins – PEP4U

Presenter(s):  Chapman University Health Professional Students

Duration:  45 mins + Q&A (optional)


This week, we have a special presentation prepared by medical students studying under our very own Dr. Tricia Brown and Gabi Frei at Chapman University. 


These students, who hold the future of medicine in their hands, will discuss a wide range of health topics, including obesity, hypertension, diabetes, asthma, COPD, and a host of other maladies that we all need to monitor to ensure and improve our quality of life. 


Strict medication adherence for all of these conditions is a theme running through the presentation. 


Included is a review of current information on Covid19 and the vaccines available.


The session concludes with a live Q&A session, so be prepared with your general health and medical questions. Let’s enjoy their passionate pursuit of health and wish them luck in their careers.

PEP4U Video link:

Additional Resources:


3/5/21:  We Fight Better When We Fight Together

Sponsor:   Ernie Atkins – PEP4U

Presenter(s):  Lauren Simmons, founder of PD Buzz

Duration:  50 mins + Q&A (optional)


Parkinson's is a journey that should not be taken alone.  It can be very isolating for not only the person with the diagnosis but for the care partner as well.  Covid has made the situation even more difficult.  Lauren will be speaking about the importance of social connections and activities for people with Parkinson's.


Lauren Simmons was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease four years ago at the age of 54.  After getting over the initial shock and devastation of the diagnosis, she decided to fight back and joined Rock Steady Boxing.  The exercise was a tremendous help but the social connection and support were the clincher in setting her outlook on the disease.  A year later, she became a Rock Steady coach.  A year after that, she launched the website PDBuzz.com to help others in the area get connected to the Parkinson's community.  Lauren now spends many hours a week advocating for people with PD, meeting with those newly diagnosed, helping run a support group, and exercising like crazy in order to stay as healthy as possible. 

PEP4U Video link:


Additional Resources:






2/5/21:  Living the Good Life with Parkinson's

Sponsor:  Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson's

Presenters:  Dr. Laurie Santos, Yale University​; Davis​ & Connie Phinney

Duration:  50 mins + Q&A (optional)


This webinar may become the favorite PD Education Hour session.  In it, Dr. Mel Dizon, host and director of education at the Davis Phinney Foundation, applies her expertise to address how to live “the good life” while living with PD.

In Spring 2018, Dr. Laurie Santos taught “Psychology and the Good Life” for the first time at Yale.  It quickly became the most popular class ever taught at Yale. 

To end the session, (the) Davis Phinney and his wife and primary caregiver, Connie Phinney, lead a discussion and open the floor for questions.  They discuss “rewirement” activities that create new happiness habits, boost your mood, and improve your overall well being.

YouTube Video link:

Parkinson's and the Good Life with Dr. Laurie Santos, Davis Phinney, and Connie Carpenter Phinney

Additional Resource:

Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson's


1/22/21:  Vertigo and Dizziness in Parkinson's

Sponsor:  Parkinson's Foundation



Julie Kurek, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Neurology

Medical College of Georgia

Kate Lewis


Vanderbilt University Rehab Institute

Duration:  50 mins + Q&A (optional)


There are four cardinal signs observed clinically and used to diagnose Parkinson’s.  One of these four, Postural Instability (P.I.), has not been reviewed as part of the P.D. Education Hour.  Until now. 

Note that P.I. becomes more prevalent as the disease progresses.  So, even if you feel fine now, it’s essential to understand this dangerous condition’s mechanisms and treatments. 

A quick preview of our bonus topic - I recently found a short YouTube video of Parkinson’s and therapy dogs.  We’ve had quite a few new adopted puppies in the group, so join us this Friday to watch the video.  And remember to hug your puppy!


1/8/21:  Pain and Parkinson’s

Sponsor:  Davis Phinney Foundation

Presenter:  Melanie Dizon, DFP; Dr. Janis Miyasaki Director of Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Program, University of Alberta

Duration:  50 mins + Q&A (optional)


After watching this video, I’m excited about reviewing it again with PEP4U folks. There are many useful “nuggets” of wisdom that speak to issues we all have. Dr. Miyasaki reviews the link between pain and Parkinson’s. Some key points covered in this webinar:


  • Forms of Pain

  1. Musculoskeletal

  2. Neuropathic

  • Neuropathic pain progression

  • Pain treatment

  1. CBD

  2. Pain Ladder

  • Pain & depression

  • Palliative care

  • Shortness of breath

  • Botox for dystonia

  • DBS for pain



12/11/20:  Speech Therapy for Parkinson’s

Sponsor:  Eugene Speech Therapy

Presenter:  Sierra Speech Therapist

Duration:  35 mins


For this PD Education Hour we will hear from a speech therapist that works primarily with Parkinson’s patients.

Instead of one long video I’ve culled 7 short 4-5 minute videos from the website.  Each video addresses a separate aspect of Parkinson’s-specific speech therapy.


The first video introduces us to a Parkinson’s patient that describes his struggles and the life-changing speech therapy experience.


Subsequent videos cover topics from home workouts to vocal hygiene.


Don’t miss the additional resources, which include a speech assessment tool.


Webinar links:


Parkinson's Disease Speech and Swallow Therapy with Vitalstim

Home Therapy:

Parkinson's Home Speech Therapy Workout



Speech Exercises for Nasal Voice



Stretches for Voice Therapy


Useful phone apps:

Three Apps for Parkinson's Home Practice



Swallowing Phases | Dysphagia Review


Additional Resources:


11/27/20:  Nutrition and Parkinson's Disease

Sponsor:  Davis Phinney Foundation

Title:  Nutrition and Parkinson’s Disease

Sponsor:  Parkinson’s Foundation

Presenter:  Heather Zwickey, Ph.D. Professor of Immunology

Duration:  40 mins



We have a special holiday treat for this week’s PD Education Hour.  Gabi Frei will join us to discuss nutrition.  Gabi is, among other things, a “gourmet” chef with a real understanding of how food choices and nutrition impact our feeling of wellness.


Gabi and I reviewed several webinars for content, format, and length.  We both agreed that the approach taken here is both educational and practical.


This webinar includes a review of nutritional properties that provide neuroprotection to slow the progression and antioxidants to reduce inflammation.


Dr. Zwickey gives recommendations for the best meals from breakfast to dinner, including foods to avoid (no more pizza ☹).  But, I’m thrilled to report banana nut muffins are part of the ideal breakfast.  Caffeine “makes the cut” as well.

She discusses specific PD symptoms and how nutrition can be employed to control them.


Don’t miss the additional resources, which include a nutrition worksheet.

Webinar link:

Nutrition and Parkinson’s Disease


Additional Resources:


11/13/20:  The Science of High-Intensity Exercise and Impact on PD

Sponsor:  Davis Phinney Foundation

Presenter:  Meghan Malley, PT, DPT

Duration:  25 mins + Q&A (optional)


This webinar has to be one of the best I’ve run across.  It’s a short 25 minutes, but it’s packed with a ton of great information for folks like us that already believe in the benefits of exercise.  As you watch this webinar, I found myself saying things like:  “That’s why Gabi has me doing that?” or “That’s why Aimee/Cathy/Stephanie keeps pushing me.  ”Honestly, if nothing else, this webinar is a testament to the professionalism of our terrific trainers.  You’ll leave this webinar with a renewed commitment to exercise and a better idea of why you’re doing things and what the specific benefits are.  Plus, it’s only 25 minutes long.  You’ll have plenty of time to deal with anything a Friday the 13th can throw at you.  I have included a few written pieces on exercise.  I find the APDA guide to be incredibly useful and comprehensive.

Video link:

The Science of Intense Exercise:  The Victory Summit® Parkinson's Support Symposium

Additional Resources:


10/30/20:  What, When, Why & How to Treat Dyskinesia


Sponsor:  Davis Phinney Foundation

Presenter:  Dr. Irene Malaty + 3 PWP panelists

Duration:  50 mins + Q&A (optional)


I chose this webinar for Session #7 of the PD Education Hour because dyskinesia is relevant to all of us. The panel includes three People with Parkinson’s (PWP) whose insights are terrific.  Along with dyskinesia, the panel discusses other topics relevant to folks like us that live with Parkinson’s 24-7-365.

The Davis Phinney Foundation works on techniques for living well with PD. This video is an excellent example of DPF material to help us learn to live well with PD.  I’ve included some DPF printed material as well.


The MJ Fox Foundation focuses on finding therapeutics and cures for PD.  I’ve added some material from the MJFF that clinically describes dyskinesia.  A short MJFF video, along with reading material, is included.


Video links:

Webinar Managing and Treating Parkinson's Dyskinesia

Dyskinesia:  Hope on the Horizon

Additional Resources:


10/16/20:  Benefits of Trekking/Walking Poles for PWP

Sponsor:  PEP4U + Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s

Presenter:  Ernie #2 + multiple professionals

Duration:  30 mins + Q&A (optional)



I recently ran across a short discussion on the benefits of trekking poles for People with Parkinson's (PWP).  It struck a chord with me; I used trekking poles for years when I hiked on challenging trails.  The poles spared my ankles and other joints.  I was able to navigate some dicey sections safely.

It turns out that similar poles are also useful for urban hiking.  They are especially helpful for old folks (like us) with walking issues.

This session included discussions with movement disorder professionals that highlight poles' utility for PWP.  It included a few videos on how to buy and use poles explicitly designed for us.

Zoom Link to the recording:  


Additional Resources:

The nine "best" walking poles

How to Nordic walk with urban poles


10/2/20: Sleeping Well With Parkinson’s Disease

Sponsor:  MJ Fox Foundation

Presenter:  Multiple professionals

Duration:  50 mins + Q&A (optional)


Dave Iverson, my favorite webinar moderator, hosts Michaels Sweet, a PwP, and two neurologists, one from University of Miami and another from Harvard Medical School.  This presentation includes access to a 4-page guide on Sleep and Parkinson’s.

They will cover multiple aspects of PD-related sleep disturbances, including:

1)  Define the sleep disorders associated with PD

2)  How to tell the difference between disease-induced sleep problems and medication side effects

3)  Best practice for treating sleep disorders

4)  New research covering sleep disorders

YouTube Video link:


PDF File:  "A Practical Guide on Sleep and Parkinson's Disease".  To download it, click the thumbnail below, then in the resulting new browser window, click the white rectangle icon containing the "down arrow".  This icon is located in the upper right hand gray border.  Once you click this, the document should save to your Downloads folder.


9/18/20:  Mindfulness Meditation

Sponsor:  PEP4U

Presenter:  Caryn Sussman

                     Mindful Heart Connection

Length:  40 minutes + Q & A


Caryn is a certified Mindful Meditation Teacher.  She offers both individual and group training and leads on-line meditations every week.  Caryn will show how MM can cultivate more ease, peace, clarity, and enhanced well-being.  Visit Caryn's website to see more of her offerings.

Ernie #2 will offer a brief personal anecdote.  Last week he had two root canals.  Using Caryn’s MM techniques, he nearly fell asleep multiple times during the 90 min procedure and experienced no “dental procedure” anxiety.


Caryn will cover several topics, including: 

  1. An overview of MM,

  2. The many benefits of MM,

  3. MM options,

  4. Resources for continuing your exploration of MM


Caryn will conduct a brief MM session during this webinar.  Find a comfortable chair, take a break, and enjoy the respite.

Please be sure to invite your support team and family members.  Everyone will enjoy and benefit from this session of the PD Education Hour.

Video Replay Link:  


9/4/20:  Mood Changes -- Anxiety and Depression in PD

Sponsor:  MJ Fox Foundation

Presenter:  Multiple Professionals

Length:  50 minutes + Q & A


Karen Jaffee, a member of the MJFF Patient Council, moderates a discussion of mood changes with two Professors of Psychiatry as well as a PWP.


They cover several topics, including:

1) Why mood changes are typical for PWP

2) Differences between anxiety and depression

3) Treatment options

4) New research covering mood in PD

Video Replay Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbqin8qpk0o


8/21/20:  Managing the Motor Symptoms in PD

Sponsor:  Parkinson's Foundation

Presenter:  Dr. Sotorios A. Parashos, Minneapolis Clinic of Neurology and Struther's Parkinson's Center

Length:  40 minutes + Q & A


Dr. Parashos explains the physiology associated with muscle control in a clear and simple manner.  He discusses how PD causes the motor symptoms we endure.  He spends a significant amount of time on how we can make simple changes to address freezing, falling, speech, and overall activities of daily living.  He is a big advocate of the LSVT Big approach and exercising.  There is an informative, 25 min. Q&A session after the 40-minute presentation.

Video Replay Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALCJgNoBJGI&feature=youtu.be


8/6/20:  The Parkinson's You Don't See:  Cognitive and Non-Motor Symptoms

Sponsor:  Davis Phinney

Presenter:  Joanne Hamilton, Ph.D., ABPP-CN, Advanced Neurobehavioral Health of Southern California

Length:  26 minutes


I chose this for the first session because it addresses symptoms that are very much a part of Parkinson's.  While screening this video, there were numerous instances where I said out loud:  "That's me, for sure."  I came to realize that some of the first symptoms are not visible to others.  Dr. Hamilton includes a critical discussion of how to distinguish symptoms caused by Parkinson's from those caused by medications.  Dr. Hamilton is a very engaging speaker.  Her presentation is a must-see. 

Video Replay Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2LP_5PC9LU

Recap and Discussion:

In our first PD Education Hour, we briefly discussed the difference between Parkinson’s induced cognitive impairment/dementia and Alzheimer’s.  We learned that Parkinson’s dementia does not “look like” Alzheimer’s. With PD dementia, you won’t “forget your loved ones.”  Here is a table showing the differences.  A written article that further discusses this topic has been uploaded to the Education page of this site.


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