Living Well

Persons with Parkinson’s disease go “Big” and “Loud”

Persons with Parkinson’s disease go “Big” and “Loud”

About Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that results from degeneration of neurons in a region of the brain that controls movement. This degeneration creates a shortage of the brain signaling chemical (neurotransmitter) known as dopamine, causing the movement impairments that characterize the disease.

Often, the first symptom of Parkinson’s disease is tremor (trembling or shaking) of a limb, especially when the body is at rest. The tremor often begins on one side of the body, frequently in one hand. Other common symptoms include:

  • slow movement (bradykinesia)
  • an inability to move (akinesia)
  • rigid limbs, a shuffling gait, and a stooped posture

People with Parkinson’s disease often show reduced facial expressions and speak in a soft voice.

LSVT Patient story

Who is at risk for Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease can run in families. However, heredity accounts for only about 5 percent of Parkinson’s disease cases. Other factors that increase your risk include:

  • Age. Most people who get the condition are 60 or older.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals in the environment, including pesticides and weed-killers.
  • Drinking well water or living in rural areas, although scientists aren’t sure why.
  • Getting sick from viruses, including those that infect the brain and cause a condition known as encephalopathy.

Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

Persons with Parkinson’s disease have a loss of automaticity as the disease progresses, requiring greater conscious attention to tasks. When required to perform dual tasks or tasks simultaneously, there are insufficient resources which results in a decrease in one or both of the concurrent tasks.

The Touro Neuro Rehabilitation Center staff offers a comprehensive LSVT LOUD™ and LSVT BIG™ program for treatment of Parkinson’s disease. LSVT™ treatment focuses on using parallel behavior to retrain the nerves. Therapists focus on “Loud” and “Big” respectively when performing speech and physical/occupational therapy to maximize attention to the task at hand and increase automaticity.

Click here to see the team of Touro therapists explain LSVT™ therapy and hear from a patient about the program benefits.

LSVT™ therapy uses innovative and clinically-proven methods for improving communication and movement in individuals with Parkinson’s disease with application to other neural conditions, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome.

About LSVT Big™

LSVT Big™ is a technique used by certified physical or occupational therapists to drive intense and high-effort practice and teach the amount of effort required to produce normal movements.

Research on LSVT Big™ therapy has documented improved ratings on  tests of motor functioning in people with Parkinson’s disease following treatment, including:

  • Faster walking and bigger steps
  • Improved balance
  • Increased trunk rotation

About LSVT Loud™

LSVT Loud™ is a Parkinson’s-specific speech therapy designed to improve vocal loudness, speech intelligibility and facial expression through the same premise of intensity and repetition.

Each patient identifies 10 phrases that he or she wants to be able to say on a daily basis and works toward those goals throughout the month of training. Therapy includes increasing intensity, breath support, pitch range and vocal quality.

Living With Parkinson’s Disease

Persons with Parkinson’s and their loved ones have a number of tools at their disposal for better managing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and living a healthy, enjoyable life.

Touro offers a FREE monthly Parkinson’s disease support group every third Monday of the month.  Click here for more information or to register.

If you think you or a loved one would benefit from LSVT therapy, ask your neurologist for a referral to the Touro Neuro Rehabilitation Center for LSVT Loud™ or LSVT Big™ today.

Phone:  (504) 897-8135


bienvenue, franFrancine Bienvenu, Occupational Therapist, graduated from LSU Medical Center with a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy. She is NDT certified, LSVT BIG certified, and STAR certified for cancer rehabilitation. Frannie has been LSVT BIG certified for over 2 years and during this time has helped many clients with Parkinson’s disease achieve their goals. She enjoys being an integral part of their rehab process, finding how rewarding it is to help each client identify their challenges, then to help them overcome these challenges.

Stephanie Gioe, PTStephanie Gioe, Physical Therapist, graduated from Texas Woman’s University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy and has a Master’s in Education from UNO in 1983. She is NDT trained, LSVT Big certified and STAR certified for cancer rehabilitation. Stephanie has worked in Touro’s Neuro Rehabilitation Center for 18 years and also coordinates student affiliations. Stephanie enjoys working with the LSVT BIG team helping patients identify and improve their movements and mobility deficits.