The Parkinson’s Foundation
Heartland Chapter


Norterre is proud to partner with the National Parkinson Foundation Heartland Chapter to bring a new support group to the Northland! Join us every third Thursday for a FREE support group that will offer education, compassion and new friendships. Facilitated by Ashley Schildknect, M.S., CCC-SLP.

The Parkinson’s Foundation Heartland Chapter is dedicated to making life better for people with Parkinson’s disease by improving care and advancing research toward a cure. Although our office is located in Kansas City, we provide services, programs and support groups throughout the state of Kansas, Western Missouri and Nebraska. Whether you are newly diagnosed with PD or have been managing it for years, a caregiver, family member or friend of someone with PD, we are here to help you.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominately dopamine-producing (“dopaminergic”) neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra. Symptoms generally develop slowly over years. The progression of symptoms is often a bit different from one person to another due to the diversity of the disease. The cause remains largely unknown. Although there is no cure, treatment options vary and include medications and surgery.

The first step to living well with Parkinson’s disease is to understand the disease and the progression. It is possible to have a good to great quality of life with PD. Working with your doctor and following recommended therapies are essential in successfully treating symptoms by using dopaminergic medications. People with PD need this medication because they have low levels or are missing dopamine in the brain, mainly due to impairment of neurons in the substantia nigra.

It is important to understand that people with PD first start experiencing symptoms later in the course of the disease because a significant amount of the substantia nigra neurons have already been lost or impaired. Lewy bodies (accumulation of abnormal alpha-synuclein) are found in substantia nigra neurons of PD patients.

Scientists are exploring ways to identify biomarkers for PD that can lead to earlier diagnosis and more tailored treatments to slow down the disease process. Currently, all therapies used for PD improve symptoms without slowing or halting the disease progression.

The Parkinson’s Foundation has designated 45 medical centers around the world as “Centers of Excellence,” including 31 in the United States. A Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence is a medical center with a specialized team of neurologists, movement disorder specialists, physical and occupational therapists, mental health professionals and others who are up to date on the latest Parkinson’s disease (PD) medications, therapies and research to provide the best care.

The support group meets on a regular basis to learn more about PD, explore topics of discussion on the latest news from the Parkinson’s Foundation, and hear heartwarming stories of families living with Parkinson’s. Join our monthly session at Norterre to learn more.

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