Offering “BIG” hope for Parkinson’s patients


DALLAS, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – The struggle Parkinson’s patients often face is overcoming smaller and slower movement. For decades, the focus was maintaining that physical ability but there’s been a rethinking in recent years to provide the best possible outcome.

Besides maintaining physical abilities there is greater emphasis on improving function. As Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller explains, a local university is preparing to host an event to make a “BIG” impact on the lives of Parkinson’s patients and those who treat them.

71-year-old Charlie DeLorenzo was put through the paces on Thursday by his physical therapist. The Mountain Top man was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 12 years ago. “Something you don’t want to hear. And then depression… something that you’ve got to live with.”

But things have been gradually looking up for him since last August when he began an exercise treatment program called LSVT BIG therapy. When asked if he noticed an impact, Mr. DeLorenzo replied “Yeah, definitely. I feel much more limber.”

Kristina Dorkoski, DPT, NCS, CEEAA is the physical therapist from Allied Services Heinz Rehab Center who’s worked with Mr. DeLorenzo. “Once he got into therapy and saw how I could challenge him with therapy that made all the difference,” she said.

The theory of LSVT BIG therapy is that through specifically designed exaggerated movements, the brain can be retrained to improve such aspects of life as movement, walking and balance. “I’ve made strides with people who are even in stage four or five of the five stages of Parkinson’s disease,” said Ms. Dorkoski.

It’s why Misericordia University is hosting a two day conference this spring offering LSVT BIG training and certification. “We don’t have a lot of therapists in the area that can treat Parkinson’s Disease with a program that works really well,” said Misericordia University Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy Jennifer Dessoye, OTD, OTR/L, CLA.

Ms. Dessoye says the program will help tie into Misericorida’s mission of service to improve the community. “We have seen an increase in this area of patients with Parkinson’s so we want to make sure we can provide all those services in an effective format.”

Misericorida University will host the LSVT BIG training May 4th and 5th. It’s open to physical and occupational therapy professionals and students and even patients. As part of this two-day conference, a complimentary interactive seminar for people with Parkinson’s disease and their family members will take place on May 5 from noon to 2 p.m. at Misericordia University in Sandy and Marlene Insalaco Hall. In this seminar, attendees will discover how they can improve movement, walking and balance with LSVT BIG treatment. People who are new to LSVT BIG or those who have already completed the treatment program are both welcome to attend.

To learn more about these opportunities, click here or email at

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