Northwestern Memorial Hospital Hosts 2007 Young Onset Parkinson's Network Conference
The 5th annual national meeting brings together young-onset patients and their care partners
Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University are hosting the 5th annual Young-Onset Parkinson Network (YOPN) conference, which will be held July 5-7th at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare Airport. This national conference brings together over 400 people with young-onset Parkinson’s disease, and their care partners, and provides a very important opportunity to develop social networks, hear from leading experts in the field, share life experiences and most importantly, empower individuals with young-onset Parkinson’s disease.
“We are excited to host this year’s conference, and share in the important task of addressing the unique challenges faced by people with young-onset Parkinson’s,” says Diane Breslow, MSW, LCSW, coordinator of Northwestern Memorial’s Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center.
The conference sessions include presentations by clinical experts, professionals in the area of care giving, support, advocacy and individuals living with Parkinson’s disease. The agenda was created almost entirely by a group of young-onset Parkinson’s patients and is driven by patient needs and interests. Multiple experts from Northwestern Memorial’s Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center, which is a National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence, will present at the conference, including: Diane Breslow, MSW, LCSW, Erin Finnegan, BS, PT, Joshua Rosenow, MD, Tanya Simuni, MD and Cindy Zadikoff, MD. In addition, the keynote speaker is Lonnie Ali, wife of Mohammed Ali and long-time Parkinson’s advocate. She will discuss her “Fight for MORE” campaign which is designed to help people with Parkinson’s and their care givers get the support, education and resources they need.
“Northwestern Memorial experts will be leading seminars which address many issues faced by young-onset patients and families, such as care-giver support, deep brain stimulation surgery and medication management,” said Tanya Simuni, MD, director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center and associate professor of Neurology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. “This attests to the multi-disciplinary approach our center takes in caring for individuals affected by Parkinson’s disease.”
Approximately one million Americans have Parkinson's disease, including three out of every 100 people over the age of 60. The average age at which Parkinson’s is diagnosed is 60, however about 10%-20% of those diagnosed with Parkinson's disease are under age 50, and about half of those are diagnosed before age 40. Individuals with young-onset Parkinson’s disease are anywhere from 20-60 years old, and this group is up against a different set of challenges than the older population with the disease. These individuals are in the prime of their lives, still raising families and working, and are attempting to survive the disease in a way that will not hinder the way they live their daily lives.
“This is very results-oriented group, and they bring an MBA mentality to scientific research,” says Joshua Rosenow, MD, director of stereotactic and functional neurosurgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and assistant professor of neurosurgery at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “They are very powerful advocates for research and very open to a wide range of treatment options.”