As many as one million Americans have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), a progressive and chronic condition that affects the brain’s ability to control body movements. Hundreds of thousands more are living with tremors, dystonia and other movement disorders.
Our Parkinson’s Disease Clinic is one of the few places in Pennsylvania where diagnostic and treatment services for PD are available in one convenient location, making it easy for you to get the care you need. With the exception of neurosurgery, all services are provided at the John P. Murtha Neuroscience and Pain Institute.
Symptoms and Warning Signs
Parkinson’s Disease and other movement disorders tend to affect older adults, with symptoms often appearing around 60 years of age. Initial symptoms are often shrugged off as part of the natural aging process, making the disease difficult to diagnose. Common symptoms may include tremors while resting, joint stiffness similar to arthritis, or balance problems. Other signs include changes in the way you walk, such as decreasing your arm swing or increased shuffling, or speech difficulties.
If you or a loved one experience some or all of these symptoms, please see your doctor as soon as possible.
Diagnosing Movement Disorders
Parkinson’s Disease, essential tremors, hemifacial spasms, dystonia and other movement disorders can’t always be diagnosed through advanced technology or even blood work. Instead, our specialists analyze your health history, the results of past scans or MRIs, and how you have responded to other treatments. Additional tests, such as updated MRIs or CT scans, can be performed at Laurel Highlands Advanced Imaging, located on the campus of the John P. Murtha Neuroscience and Pain Institute, or at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center. Once all other conditions can be ruled out, a movement diagnosis can be made.
Treatment Without Surgery
Once a diagnosis has been made, our specialists develop a treatment plan to meet your personal needs. Options include:
- Proven medications to help restore the brain’s dopamine levels and reduce symptoms
- Coordinated care provided by licensed balance, physical, occupational and speech therapists to help regain and strengthen body control
- Complementary therapies, such as yoga, massage or aquatic therapy
Neurosurgery may be required when it appears that medication and other treatment options are no longer effective.
Building on the strengths of the John P. Murtha Neuroscience and Pain Institute, most treatment plans combine medical management options, such as prescription medication, with complementary therapies. In some cases, surgery may be an effective treatment option. Our neurology and neurosurgery physician team includes:
Alfred P. Bowles, Jr., MD, FICS, FACS, FAANS
Renu Pokharna, MD
Support and Information
A PD diagnosis can seem overwhelming. But you’re not alone. We offer a free monthly support group to help individuals with PD and their families understand the disease and how to manage it. Meetings are held in the JPMNPI Community Room, 1450 Scalp Avenue, Second Floor, Suite 2400, Johnstown. Please call (814)269-5232 for meeting dates and times.
Additional information on complementary therapies to help manage Parkinson's Disease and other movement disorders is also available through the Johnstown-based Integrative Medicine Advisory Council (IMAC).
Click here for more information about research studies related to Parkinson's Disease.
The Parkinson’s Disease Clinic is located at:
Conemaugh East Hills
(John P. Murtha Neuroscience and Pain Institute)
1450 Scalp Avenue
Johnstown, PA 15904
Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.