Could your subconscious mind affect your Parkinson’s treatment outcomes?
PD in Practice
sponsored by UCB
Author: UCBPublished: 15 February 2018
Prep: Cook: Serves:
By using innovative research, people living with Parkinson’s, caregivers and healthcare professionals have shed new light into the subconscious and behavioural influences that affect decision-making around treatment for the condition
When an individual is diagnosed with Parkinson’s, many factors can influence their behaviour, the way they make decisions, and the actions they take to manage their condition. Our own individual biases and perceptions can shape, change or reinforce beliefs related to treatment. In the case of Parkinson’s, people are grappling with a condition with an uncertain outcome and a range of treatments to choose from.
To understand these subconscious influences on treatment behaviour, an innovative behavioural market research (“research”) programme, called DRIVE™, was conducted with people with Parkinson’s, carers and healthcare professionals following these main principles:
The programme looked at how people with Parkinson’s:
evaluate various moments in their treatment journey
set their goals and expectations from treatment
cope with various challenges
understand the roles and inputs of others
evaluate the effectiveness, tolerability and cost-benefit of medication – and what impact this has on their adherence to treatment.
“Parkinson’s disease is a very individual experience”
The key findings of the DRIVE™ programme were:
1. From subjectivity to objectivity People with Parkinson’s are often primed with experiences and information that leaves them feeling uncertain about how things will progress and how different treatments might affect them. Finding ways to more objectively measure wellbeing, tolerability and treatment goals related to efficacy may help people make a more positive assessment of these factors.
2. Openness to treatment trials varies People with Parkinson’s are more likely to be open to trying something different. Psychologically, they are generally primed for loss, and, in this situation, may be more willing to take a decision even if the gain is uncertain – adopting a mindset of ‘I have nothing to lose’. On the other hand, some individuals will hold onto a minimal gain for fear of a greater loss – perhaps being afraid to change from a sub-optimal treatment in case an alternative would be even less effective, or could introduce additional or intolerable side-effects. In this instance, a patient would be less open to change.
3. Roles evolve over time As Parkinson’s progresses, control over treatment choices also evolves. Initial decisions over treatment may be driven by healthcare professionals, primarily based on medication efficacy. But over time, the balance switches to people living with Parkinson’s, some of whom will build a picture of what works for them, and will need to share this with others to optimise their treatment.
Providing appropriate information at each phase should aid decision making and optimise treatment choice. Decisions about switching treatment – which involves weighing up the desirable and undesirable aspects of existing treatments against the unknown risks of an alternative – will be motivated, at least to some degree, by subconscious influences.
Personalisation is key
Parkinson’s disease is a very individual experience. By recognising this, and identifying the factors which motivate individuals in their decisions about treatment – instead of using the more standard guidelines such as disease stage or symptoms tracking – we may be able to approach such decisions on a more personal basis. More should be done to reduce the uncertainty that patients face at the start of treatment, and while evaluating treatments as their disease progresses. Preparing people with Parkinson’s for their experience could optimise their treatment and improve their overall quality of life. Ref: HQ/1217/NU/00087
About UCB UCB is a global biopharmaceutical company with a focus on neurology.
UCB is committed to identifying and addressing the unmet needs of people living with Parkinson’s disease to enable them to have a more engaged life every day.
This research was conducted by Final Mile Consulting on behalf of UCB.
The authors thank the people living with Parkinson’s, and all other participants in addition to the researchers and their teams who contributed to this research.
DRIVE™ is a trademark of UCB Biopharma SPRL.
To get access to the full report, please go on UCB.com.
This article is sponsored by UCB. The information in this article is given for information purposes only and does not represent an endorsement by Parkinson’s Europe of any particular treatments, products or companies. This article is not a substitute for advice from your doctor, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. Parkinson’s Life makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness or accuracy of information provided.
A lawyer turned inspirational speaker on living with Parkinson’s disease
5 hours ago
Could a sea sponge support the search for Parkinson’s disease treatments?
How could a molecule in a sea sponge help treat Parkinson’s and similar conditions? Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), in the US, recently explored this question. Their findings were published in the journal ‘Science’. The team examined a molecule known as lissodendoric acid A, which appears to counteract other molecules that damage DNA, proteins and whole cells – and was recently discovered in a sea sponge. The research team used an oft-neglected compound called a cyclic allene to control a step in the chain of chemical reactions, which enabled them to create a version of the molecule in a lab. Scientists believe that the ability to synthetically produce lissodendoric acid A will help them assess whether it can inform future therapies for conditions like Parkinson’s. UCLA’s Professor Neil Garg, the corresponding author of the study, said: “We hope others will also be able to use cyclic…
Study finds just six minutes of daily exercise might delay onset of Parkinson’s disease
Regular exercise is a common therapeutic strategy for people with Parkinson’s. Now, a study from New Zealand has suggested that daily physical activity might even delay the onset of this condition. Published in ‘The Physiological Society’, the study focused on a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) – which has previously been shown to boost cognitive performance. The researchers assessed the impact of fasting and physical activity on BDNF production in 12 people aged 18 to 56. The tests involved fasting and completing exercises of varying intensity, such as cycling for six minutes, as well as combinations of both fasting and physical activity. The results showed that brief, intense exercise was the best option for increasing the production of BDNF – with the protein increasing by a factor of four to five times compared to light exercise or fasting. Because BDNF can protect the brain from cognitive decline, the findings could…
Machine learning may help predict risk of freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease
Difficulty taking steps forward, often referred to as the freezing of gait (FOG), is a common symptom experienced by people with Parkinson’s and one that can be difficult to predict. China-based researchers suggest that machine learning – artificial intelligence (AI) that uses algorithms to analyse data – could help predict the risk of freezing of gait developing in the early stages of the condition. Their study, published in ‘npj Parkinson’s Disease’, gave laboratory and clinical data to a machine learning model brain. This information was collected from 158 adults with untreated early-stage Parkinson’s and 73 healthy adults over a five-year period. They found that the risk of FOG could be predicted with an accuracy rate of up to 78%. The study authors suggested that machine learning methods “have the potential to help predict future FOG in patients with early Parkinson’s at an individual level”.