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New program for Parkinson’s patients comes to Mount Sinai Rehab Hospital

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HARTFORD -- It is a debilitating disease that affects ore than 1 million people in America, but at Mount Sinai Rehab Hospital in Hartford a new program helps Parkinson's patients live with the illness.

The LSVT LOUD and BIG program--LVST stands for Lee Silverman Voice Treatment--offers various intense therapies to help Parkinson's sufferers improve their speech -- that's the LOUD part -- and their movement -- that's the so-called BIG part.

"It's a program developed based on research in order to help patients move better," said Michelle Dery, a Mount Sinai physical therapist who is also a clinician in the LOUD and BIG program.

The national program is named for Mrs. Lee Silverman, and was launched in 1987, but just arrived in Hartford.

For patients like Charles Wiseman, a 69-year-old Hartford resident who was diagnosed with Parkinson's three months ago, he says the therapies are helping him speak and move better. Wiseman completed the four-week program last month that required him to work with both physical therapists and speech pathologists four days a week.

"I'm picking up in strength, picking up in balance, even my memory is better," he said.

Working from a movie set-like room called the Town Commons, which has everyday items like a car and gas pump inside of it,  Dery noted that the therapy helps patients like Wiseman relearn what normal movement feels like. "Hopefully it's hoping to slow down the disease progression."

Wiseman's wife Sandy said the program has been a blessing in the wake of the uphill battle her husband faces. "It's given us hope," she said. "I see things improving rather than getting worse."

To learn more about the LSVT program, click here.

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