Welcome to our Fall/Winter 2018 newsletter! I am back from attending the International Movement Disorder Congress in Hong Kong in October, which was a stimulating event bringing together healthcare professionals from around the world to discuss latest advances in diagnosis and treatment of movement disorders.
With Parkinson’s disease being the fastest growing neurodegenerative disorder, and neurologic diseases being the biggest reason for disability worldwide, there are large challenges ahead. To educate healthcare providers without specialized training in movement disorders, our team just completed production of a three-part webinar on diagnosis and management of Parkinson’s disease, made possible by grant support by the Parkinson’s Foundation.
Please mark your calendars for Sat., March. 2, 2019, for our annual Bill Collins Parkinson’s Disease Patient and Family Symposium. Our keynote speaker will be my former mentor from Mayo Clinic, Dr. Eric Ahlskog, who has taken care of patients with Parkinson’s disease for over 30 years and authored several successful books for patients and families, which are available in our resource center.
Thank you for your trust in our care, and I hope to see you at one of our upcoming free educational events or the holiday luncheon!

Best wishes to you and your family,

Kathrin LaFaver, M.D.
Director, UofL Physicians - Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Clinic
Raymond Lee Lebby Chair of Parkinson’s Disease Research

P.S. As you consider your end-of-year giving, please keep our center in mind and help us grow our clinical and research programs to serve you and other patients like you even better in 2019. Contact Denise Nuehring at 502-640-8663 or for details.  



Advocacy Efforts: Transparency in Drug Pricing and Medicare Payment Reform

Drs. LaFaver and Friedland met with staff of Rep. John Yarmuth’s office as part of the American Academy of Neurology’s (AAN) “off the hill” advocacy efforts. Topics discussed were increased transparency in drug pricing, reduction of regulatory burdens such as encouraging the use of electronic prior authorization, and increased funding for National Institutes of Health (NIH) research.

 As result of the AAN and other medical society’s efforts, the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) announced on Nov. 1, 2018 a delay in its suggested reimbursement changes that   would significantly affect neurologists. The CMS had initially proposed to collapse payment for evaluation and management for four different complexity levels of patient visits into one. The decision is now delayed until 2021. Learn more about this big win for Neurology here.

International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders
Hong Kong, Oct. 5-9, 2018

Dr. LaFaver shared the stage with Dr. Jon Stone from the UK to educate an international audience about functional movement disorders and our MoRe treatment program at Frazier Rehab Institute. The meeting was attended by over 4000 neurologists and healthcare professionals from 86 countries. As its main topic, the congress dealt with better use of technology for assessment, management and treatment of movement disorders. 

Welcome Dr. Nelleke van Wouwe

This summer, Nelleke van Wouwe, Ph.D., joined the research faculty at the University of Louisville School of Medicine as assistant professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery. Since 2012, van Wouwe has been researching cognitive function in patients with movement disorders at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville.

At UofL, van Wouwe will be working on research to understand the function of the basal ganglia in patients with Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Tourette syndrome and other conditions. The basal ganglia are located at the base of the forebrain and are associated with control of voluntary movements, cognition, emotion and other functions. She will be working with Joseph Neimat, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery, on experiments conducted in the operating room (recordings during surgery) and also with patients post-surgery.
Specifically, her NIH-funded research will investigate how the basal ganglia affect cognitive functions crucial to navigating daily life situations. The ability to stop or change actions is necessary to prevent impulsive actions with for example driving or in communication with other people. Patients with a movement disorder may find it more difficult to stop and control these voluntary actions.

In our lab, we use behavioral and neurophysiological measurements to investigate the relation between brain and cognition. We also aim to understand how treatment with medication and deep brain stimulation can restore the ability to control actions. Ultimately, a better understanding of these interventions on the brain and behavior could help tailor treatment to individual needs.


New AAN Guidelines on Treatment of Cerebellar Ataxia

Cerebellar ataxia is a condition leading to problems with gait, coordination and speech due to damage of the cerebellum, a part of the brain controlling balance and movement coordination. Treatment for ataxia is often challenging and no curative therapies have been found to date.
In the new treatment guidelines released by the AAN earlier this year, the role for treatment with Riluzole (Rilutek®) was highlighted for certain forms of genetic ataxias including Friedreich’s ataxia. You may review the full guidelines here or ask one of our clinic staff members for a copy. In addition to medications, adaptive devices such as walkers, physical, occupational and speech therapy, also have a role in the management of ataxia.



“Lewy, Mom, and Me: A Caregiver’s Story”

From “In her seventies, Peggy Bushy’s mother, Francesca,   started telling unbelievable stories. She claimed that people were invading her home and trying to kill her. She also became anxious and reclusive. For several discouraging years, Bushy searched in vain for a reason for her mother’s behavior. Finally, Francesca was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia. Although it’s the third-most-common cause of dementia, Bushy was unable to find much information on the disease, and the medical community was frustratingly unhelpful. Lewy, Mom, and Me is the book that Bushy wished had been available when her mother was first diagnosed. It details her personal journey of discovery, with all its challenges and revelations, and is written in a compassionate, empathetic style that will comfort any reader dealing with a parent’s decline. Bushy explains how she learned to accept the changes in her mother and to support Francesca emotionally as she grappled with her frightening illness. She also describes what was involved in caring for her mother first at home, then in long-term care, and finally in hospice. Part memoir and part survival guide, this compelling testimony offers support and information for family caregivers of aging parents.”
You can access this and other books in the Bill Collins Parkinson’s Resource Center at Frazier Rehab Institute (lobby level) and borrow a copy for up to three months.

Research News

Active Research Studies at the ULP Movement Disorders Clinic

Condition Title Objective Eligibility PI Contact
Parkinson’s disease (PD) SPIRE-Study Reducing anxiety through mindfulness training Patients with idiopathic PD between ages 40-80 with anxiety symptoms Dr. Victoria Holiday Diksha Mohanti, 502-582-7654
Parkinson’s disease Burden of symptomatic pelvic floor disease PD Defining urinary problems in women with PD Female patients with idiopathic PD Dr. Kathrin LaFaver Diksha Mohanti, 502-582-7654
Parkinson’s disease Metagenomics of the nasal and gut microbiota in PD Collecting information about bacteria in the nose and stool in connection to PD Patients with idiopathic PD between ages 50-90 and their partners Dr. Robert Friedland Annette Robinson, 502-540-3585
Functional Movement Disorders (FMD) Multimodal assessment of novel biomarkers in FMD Exploring cognitive, sensory and motor pathways Patients with functional movement disorders, age >18 Dr. Fidias Leon-Sarmiento Diksha Mohanti, 502-582-7654
Huntington’s disease SIGNAL-HD Determine safety and efficacy of VX15/2503 in prodromal and early manifest HD Patients with late prodromal or early manifest stages of HD Dr. Kathrin LaFaver Annette Robinson, 502-540-3585
Huntington’s disease ENROLL-HD Worldwide Registry for HD Patients affected or at risk for HD and their families Dr. Kathrin LaFaver Annette Robinson, 502-540-3585


Heena Iqbal

Hi! My name is Heena Iqbal. I am 22 years old, and I work as a substitute teacher at a private high school.

I lived a normal childhood, free of any health-related issues. However, when I was only 14-years-old, I suddenly lost the ability to walk, use fine motor skills, or speak correctly. Doctors ran every test they could, but found no cause for my symptoms. Finally, something showed up on an MRI six months later. I was diagnosed with cerebellar ataxia due to an autoimmune cause, and lost many brain cells in my cerebellum. A little while later I started presenting with ataxic movements that were more pronounced on the right side of my body. It has been 8 years and I still can’t walk. But with consistent physical therapy and natural supplements, such as CoQ-10, my symptoms are manageable.




Albertine Fabi, Medical Assistant

My name is Albertine Fabi I am from Benin a small town in west Africa. I have eight siblings--four brothers and four sisters. In Africa, I am a part of a royal family. I speak nine different languages with my native language being French.
While I was in Benin, I was a midwife for about three years. Then, I moved to the US in 2000 and was married for 10 years that ended with a divorce. I have two boys, one born in Africa who is now 19, and one born in Louisville who is 16. I used to sing in a choir and I love gospel music. I earned my CNA certification in 2009. I worked at JCIM for about 10 years in quality control. In 2013, JCIM was shut down so I went to school at Brown Mackie College and graduated with my CCMA license in 2015. I am enjoying to be part of the Movement Disorders Clinic team and take care of our patients!



Kathrin LaFaver, M.D. – Director; Movement disorder specialist
Victoria Holiday, M.D. – Movement disorder specialist
Laura Dixon, DNP, APRN –  Movement disorder specialist
Shelly Oates - Registered nurse
Kelly Bickett – Registered nurse
Diane Stretz-Thurmond – Case manager
Albertine Fabi – Medical assistant
Annette Robinson – Research nurse (not pictured)
Diksha Mohanti – Research assistant (not pictured)
Anushree Linguaia – Research assistant (not pictured)


Join us on noon – 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, in the Bill Collins PD Resource Center in the lobby of Frazier Rehab Institute for the last talk this year in our Lunch and Learn Series. Drs. Holiday and LaFaver will address “Myths and Misconceptions about Parkinson’s Disease – Time to clear the fog.”  This is a free event and includes a light lunch. Please call 502-582-7654 to register.
We are looking forward to welcoming you to our annual Holiday Luncheon noon – 1:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14 in the lobby of Frazier Rehab Institute. Join the UofL Physicians Movement Clinic Team for a joyful get-together to celebrate the holiday spirit. A light lunch, raffle tickets and musical entertainment will be provided. Open to all patients and guests, RSVP required, call 502-582-7654 to register.
Save the date for our annual Bill Collins Parkinson’s Disease Conference 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday,  March 2, 2019 in the Rudd Conference Center at Jewish Hospital. Dr. Eric Ahlskog from Mayo Clinic will be our keynote speaker. Dr. Ahlskog is a world-renowned expert on Parkinson’s disease and author of “The New Parkinson’s Disease Treatment Book: Partnering with Your Doctor to Get the Most from Your Medications”.


DBS Education Group

Join Drs. Abbey Roach and Dennis Brandon for the quarterly Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) education group from 6 - 7 p.m. in the Bill Collins Parkinson’s Resource Center in the lobby of Frazier Rehab Institute. The group is open to patients with current DBS therapy as well as patients who are interested to learn more about DBS surgery for treatment of Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor or dystonia. Registration is required; please call 502-582-7484 to sign up. Next Dates: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018 and March 20, 2019.






We count on you to help grow our research and educational activities. For more information about supporting our center, please contact Denise Nuehring, senior director of development, at 502-640-8663 or by email at or put your gift to work even faster and make a secure online donation. Thank you in advance for your support!

If you would like to be subscribed to our eNewsletter, send an email to For more updates from our clinic, you can also follow Dr. LaFaver on twitter @LaFaverMD. If you would like to be removed from this mailing list, please reply to this email with UNSUBSCRIBE. If you need to speak to someone in UofL Physicians – Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders, please do not use this email. Please call (502) 582-7654 or contact our office through the patient portal, Follow My Health. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911.

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UofL Physicians · 401 E. Chestnut St. · Suite 560 · Louisville, KY 40202 · USA