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Parkinson’s Disease Treatment – The Manage PD Tool

Medically reviewed by Susan Kerrigan, MD and Marianne Madsen on February 4, 2023

Although Parkinson’s disease (PD) has no cure, treatment options have been steadily advancing over the last few decades. From stem cell therapies to new drugs, we are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to a cure for PD. However, we’re not quite there yet. 


Nonetheless, a new approach to treating PD was developed in 2021 by researchers at Sweden’s Lund University. While not a treatment in and of itself, the approach aims to change the way PD is managed on an individual basis.


Current treatments for PD


Treatments for PD depend on the severity of the condition but usually include supportive therapy, medications, and, in some cases, surgical procedures. 


Supportive therapies tend to consist of physical therapy and speech therapy, along with help performing everyday tasks. Medications are effective at improving symptoms of the disease, although they become less effective as the disease progresses. Finally, surgery such as deep brain stimulation may be considered for some individuals with PD.


All of these treatment options are certainly beneficial for PD sufferers and can greatly improve their quality of life. But what if a patient’s treatment isn’t working as well as it should (or isn’t working at all) or something just needs to be tweaked? Manual adjustments can be made, but this is often a frustrating game of trial and error. This is what Dr. Per Odin had in mind when he and his colleagues developed the Manage PD tool.


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Parkinson's - Treatment

Parkinson's - Treatment

What is Manage PD?


Simply put, the Manage PD tool enlists the help of an automated algorithm to create a personalized treatment plan for the patient with PD. If, for instance, a patient’s medications are causing unwanted side effects, a doctor can determine how to adjust their dosage by inputting the relevant data into the Manage PD tool. If the patient requires specialized care, the tool can refer them to a treatment center. The Manage PD tool can also suggest advanced therapies for the patient if conventional treatments prove insufficient.


How Manage PD could cut costs


Pharmacological therapy for PD is often the mainstay of treatment, partly due to its low cost and partly due to its convenience. But often, a patient requires more advanced therapy. Not only can the Manage PD tool notify the patient’s doctor if this is the case, it can also save more money in the long run by switching the patient to advanced therapy. 


Dr. Odin and his research group published an article showing that advanced therapies for PD (such as deep brain stimulation) have a net cost of zero, due to these therapies prolonging the patient’s neurological capabilities, allowing them to remain at work longer and avoiding hospitalization. In short, a patient with a longer functioning lifespan can continue to contribute to society, thereby annulling the cost of their therapy.


Real-world applications


Manage PD is already being used in healthcare settings due to its benefits for the patient and for society at large.


“We can give these patients and their relatives a better quality of life without a greater financial cost to society when considered from an overall perspective,” said Odin.


Written by Natan Rosenfeld

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