Theresa A Zesiewicz

Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, Illinois, United States

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Publications (114)453.71 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Friedreich's Ataxia (FA) is an autosomal recessive, neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive muscle weakness and sensory loss, balance deficits, and gait ataxia. Gait and balance impairments become worse as the disease progresses, but limited research has quantitatively assessed these deficits in adults with FA. The purpose of this study was to analyze gait and balance in this population and investigate the relationship between these variables. Eight subjects with genetically confirmed FA (29.4 ± 9.0 years) and eight healthy, matched control subjects (29.6 ± 9.1 years) participated in this study. Spatiotemporal gait parameters were examined using the GAITRite Walkway System and balance was examined utilizing the Biodex Balance System SD and the Berg Balance Scale (BBS). The FA group exhibited approximately 50% slower gait velocity and 32% shorter step and stride lengths compared to the control group for both comfortable and fast walking (p < 0.001). Further, stride length variability in the FA group was 3.4 and 2.7 times that of controls for comfortable and fast walking, respectively (p < 0.01). Subjects with FA took 72% longer to complete the limits of stability (LOS) test and attained an overall directional control score that was 50% that of controls (p < 0.05). Lastly, age at FA symptom onset correlated with stride length variability during fast walking (p < 0.05), and BBS and LOS test scores correlated with stride length variability during both comfortable and fast walking (p < 0.05). Results demonstrate that adults with FA have significantly impaired gait and balance and several measures of these impairments are correlated.
    Gait & Posture. 01/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: Constituents of the Cannabis plant, cannabinoids, may be of therapeutic value in neurologic diseases. The most abundant cannabinoids are Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol, which possesses psychoactive properties, and cannabidiol, which has no intrinsic psychoactive effects, but exhibits neuroprotective properties in preclinical studies. A small number of high-quality clinical trials support the safety and efficacy of cannabinoids for treatment of spasticity of multiple sclerosis, pain refractory to opioids, glaucoma, nausea and vomiting. Lower level clinical evidence indicates that cannabinoids may be useful for dystonia, tics, tremors, epilepsy, migraine and weight loss. Data are also limited in regards to adverse events and safety. Common nonspecific adverse events are similar to those of other CNS 'depressants' and include weakness, mood changes and dizziness. Cannabinoids can have cardiovascular adverse events and, when smoked chronically, may affect pulmonary function. Fatalities are rare even with recreational use. There is a concern about psychological dependence, but physical dependence is less well documented. Cannabis preparations may presently offer an option for compassionate use in severe neurologic diseases, but at this point, only when standard-of-care therapy is ineffective. As more high-quality clinical data are gathered, the therapeutic application of cannabinoids will likely expand.
    Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics 12/2014; 14(12):1453-65. · 2.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate the association between drug exposure and disease severity in SCA types 1, 2, 3 and 6. The Clinical Research Consortium for Spinocerebellar Ataxias (CRC-SCA) enrolled 319 participants with SCA1, 2, 3, and 6 from 12 medical centers in the United States and repeatedly measured clinical severity by the Scale for Assessment and Rating of Ataxia (SARA), the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale part IV (UHDRS-IV), and the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire during July 2009 to May 2012. We employed generalized estimating equations in regression models to study the longitudinal effects of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), statin, and vitamin E on clinical severity of ataxia after adjusting for age, sex, and pathological CAG repeat number. Cross-sectionally, exposure to CoQ10 was associated with lower SARA and higher UHDRS-IV scores in SCA1 and 3. No association was found between statins, vitamin E, and clinical outcome. Longitudinally, CoQ10, statins, and vitamin E did not change the rates of clinical deterioration indexed by SARA and UHDRS-IV scores within 2 years. CoQ10 is associated with better clinical outcome in SCA1 and 3. These drug exposures did not appear to influence clinical progression within 2 years. Further studies are warranted to confirm the association. © 2014 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society
    Movement Disorders 11/2014; · 5.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: SUMMARY Symptoms of cerebellar degeneration include ataxia or wide-based gait, visual and speech dysfunction, dysmetria, and dyscoordination. The etiology of cerebellar degeneration is vast and often complex, and requires neuroimaging, lab assessments, and a thorough family history to delineate its cause. There is currently no accepted treatment of hereditary cerebellar degeneration, although several pharmaceutical agents have shown potential promise.
    Neurodegenerative disease management. 10/2014; 4(5):379-92.
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    ABSTRACT: Ocular motor abnormalities reflect the varied neuropathology of spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) and may serve to clinically distinguish the different SCAs. We analyzed the various eye movement abnormalities detected prospectively at the baseline visit during a large multicenter natural history study of SCAs 1, 2, 3, and 6.
    Journal of neuro-ophthalmology: the official journal of the North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society 09/2014; · 1.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pain is a troublesome non-motor symptom of Parkinson's disease (PD). The RECOVER (Randomized Evaluation of the 24-hour Coverage: Efficacy of Rotigotine; NCT00474058) study demonstrated significant improvements in early-morning motor function (UPDRS III) and sleep disturbances (PDSS-2) with rotigotine transdermal system. Improvements were also reported on a Likert pain scale (measuring any type of pain). This post hoc analysis of RECOVER further evaluates the effect of rotigotine on pain, and whether improvements in pain may be attributable to benefits in motor function or sleep disturbance. PD patients with unsatisfactory early-morning motor impairment were randomized to optimal-dose (up to 16 mg/24 h) rotigotine or placebo, maintained for 4 weeks. Pain was assessed in the early-morning using an 11-point Likert pain scale (rated average severity of pain (of any type) over the preceding 12 hours from 0 [no pain] to 10 [worst pain ever experienced]). Post hoc analyses for patients reporting 'any' pain (pain score >=1) at baseline, and subgroups reporting 'mild' (score 1-3), and 'moderate-to-severe' pain (score >=4) were performed. Likert pain scale change from baseline in rotigotine-treated patients was further analyzed based on a UPDRS III/PDSS-2 responder analysis (a responder defined as showing a >=30% reduction in early morning UPDRS III total score or PDSS-2 total score). As post hoc analyses, all p values presented are exploratory. Of 267 patients with Likert pain data (178 rotigotine, 89 placebo), 187 (70%) reported 'any' pain; of these 87 (33%) reported 'mild', and 100 (37%) 'moderate-to-severe' pain. Change from baseline pain scores decreased with rotigotine compared with placebo in patients with 'any' pain (-0.88 [95% CI: -1.56, -0.19], p = 0.013), and in the subgroup with 'moderate-to-severe' pain (-1.38 [-2.44, -0.31], p = 0.012). UPDRS III or PDSS-2 responders showed greater improvement in pain than non-responders. The results from this post hoc analysis of the RECOVER study suggest that pain was improved in patients with PD treated with rotigotine; this may be partly attributable to benefits in motor function and sleep disturbances. Prospective studies are warranted to investigate this potential benefit and the clinical relevance of these findings.
    BMC Neurology 03/2014; 14(1):42. · 2.49 Impact Factor
  • Neurology 02/2014; 82(7):643. · 8.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tremors may be difficult to classify. An 83-year-old male presented with an unusual left wrist tremor. The tremor could be reproducibly elicited by making a fist or carrying a weighted object (e.g., a shopping bag, bottle of water) of approximately 1 lb or more, and it intensified with heavier weights. The tremor was difficult to classify, although it shared features with isometric tremor. This specific presentation of tremor has not been reported previously. We hope that the detailed description we provide will aid other neurologists who encounter this or similar tremors in their clinics.
    Tremor and other hyperkinetic movements (New York, N.Y.). 01/2014; 4.
  • Theresa A Zesiewicz, Pablo Martinez-Martin
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    ABSTRACT: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease, involving the dopaminergic, noradrenergic, serotonergic and cholinergic systems. In addition to its cardinal motor symptoms, PD is associated with a diverse range of non-motor symptoms (NMS) that may be more important than motor symptoms. Although there is evidence for a dopaminergic contribution for several NMS in PD, NMS have been underrecognized and undertreated by clinicians. There is evidence that dopaminergic therapy, including dopamine agonists, may alleviate some NMS, such as anxiety and depression. This review focuses on published data on the effects of the non-ergoline dopaminergic agonist rotigotine transdermal system in the treatment of NMS in patients with PD. Data on the effects of orally administered non-ergoline agonists, including ropinirole and pramipexole, on NMS are also summarized.
    Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics 12/2013; 13(12):1329-42. · 2.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: All spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) are rare diseases. SCA1, 2, 3 and 6 are the four most common SCAs, all caused by expanded polyglutamine-coding CAG repeats. Their pathomechanisms are becoming increasingly clear and well-designed clinical trials will be needed. To characterize the clinical manifestations of spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) 1, 2, 3 and 6 and their natural histories in the United States (US), we conducted a prospective multicenter study utilized a protocol identical to the European consortium study, using the Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia (SARA) score as the primary outcome, with follow-ups every 6 months up to 2 years. We enrolled 345 patients (60 SCA1, 75 SCA2, 138 SCA3 and 72 SCA6) at 12 US centers. SCA6 patients had a significantly later onset, and SCA2 patients showed greater upper-body ataxia than patients with the remaining SCAs. The annual increase of SARA score was greater in SCA1 patients (mean +/- SE: 1.61 +/- 0.41) than in SCA2 (0.71 +/- 0.31), SCA3 (0.65 +/- 0.24) and SCA6 (0.87 +/- 0.28) patients (p = 0.049). The functional stage also worsened faster in SCA1 than in SCA2, 3 and 6 (p = 0.002). The proportions of different SCA patients in US differ from those in the European consortium study, but as in the European patients, SCA1 progress faster than those with SCA2, 3 and 6. Later onset in SCA6 and greater upper body ataxia in SCA2 were noted. We conclude that progression rates of these SCAs were comparable between US and Europe cohorts, suggesting the feasibility of international collaborative clinical studies.
    Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases 11/2013; 8(1):177. · 3.96 Impact Factor
  • Neurodegenerative Disease Management. 10/2013; 3(5):445-453.
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    ABSTRACT: To examine the efficacy of cognitive speed of processing training (SOPT) among individuals with Parkinson disease (PD). Moderators of SOPT were also examined. Eighty-seven adults, 40 years of age or older, with a diagnosis of idiopathic PD in Hoehn & Yahr stages 1-3 and on a stable medication regimen were randomized to either 20 hours of self-administered SOPT (using InSight software) or a no-contact control condition. Participants were assessed at baseline and after 3 months of training (or an equivalent delay). The primary outcome measure was useful field of view test (UFOV) performance, and secondary outcomes included cognitive self-perceptions and depressive symptoms. Results indicated that participants randomized to SOPT experienced significantly greater improvements on UFOV performance relative to controls, Wilks λ = 0.938, F 1,72 = 4.79, p = 0.032, partial η(2) = 0.062. Findings indicated no significant effect of training on secondary outcomes, Wilks λ = 0.987, F2,70 < 1, p = 0.637, partial η(2) = 0.013. Patients with mild to moderate stage PD can self-administer SOPT and improve their cognitive speed of processing, as indexed by UFOV (a robust predictor of driving performance in aging and PD). Further research should establish if persons with PD experience longitudinal benefits of such training and if improvements translate to benefits in functional activities such as driving. This study provides Class III evidence that SOPT improves UFOV performance among persons in the mild to moderate stages of PD.
    Neurology 09/2013; · 8.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To make evidence-based recommendations regarding management of tardive syndromes (TDS), including tardive dyskinesias (TDD), by addressing 5 questions: 1) Is withdrawal of dopamine receptor blocking agents (DRBAs) an effective TDS treatment? 2) Does switching from typical to atypical DRBAs reduce TDS symptoms? 3) What is the efficacy of pharmacologic agents in treating TDS? 4) Do patients with TDS benefit from chemodenervation with botulinum toxin? 5) Do patients with TDS benefit from surgical therapy? PsycINFO, Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, and Cochrane were searched (1966-2011). Articles were classified according to a 4-tiered evidence-rating scheme; recommendations were tied to the evidence. Clonazepam probably improves TDD and ginkgo biloba probably improves TDS (both Level B); both should be considered as treatment. Risperidone may improve TDS but cannot be recommended as treatment because neuroleptics may cause TDS despite masking symptoms. Amantadine and tetrabenazine might be considered as TDS treatment (Level C). Diltiazem should not be considered as TDD treatment (Level B); galantamine and eicosapentaenoic acid may not be considered as treatment (Level C). Data are insufficient to support or refute use of acetazolamide, bromocriptine, thiamine, baclofen, vitamin E, vitamin B6, selegiline, clozapine, olanzapine, melatonin, nifedipine, fluperlapine, sulpiride, flupenthixol, thiopropazate, haloperidol, levetiracetam, quetiapine, ziprasidone, sertindole, aripiprazole, buspirone, yi-gan san, biperiden discontinuation, botulinum toxin type A, electroconvulsive therapy, α-methyldopa, reserpine, and pallidal deep brain stimulation as TDS treatments (Level U). Data are insufficient to support or refute TDS treatment by withdrawing causative agents or switching from typical to atypical DRBA (Level U).
    Neurology 07/2013; 81(5):463-469. · 8.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Essential tremor is one of the most common movement disorders in the world. Although millions of people worldwide are affected by ET, only one medication, propranolol, is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration to treat it. None of the medications currently used as ET therapy were developed specifically for this purpose, and select antihypertensive and antiepileptic medications remain at the forefront of ET therapy. Propranolol and primidone are considered "effective" agents that treat ET; topiramate, atenolol, and alprazolam are "probably effective", and nimodipine, nadolol, and clonazepam are "possibly effective". Medications that probably do not adequately treat ET include levetiracetam and pregabalin. Gabapentin appears to improve ET when used as monotherapy, but not when used as adjunct therapy. Sotalol has been found to be "probably effective" in treating ET in previous reviews, but it may be associated with arrhythmias and should not be routinely recommended. Botulinum toxin A may reduce limb tremor, but may cause dose dependent weakness. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the VIM is used as an alternative to pharmacological therapy of ET in patients who fail to adequately respond to medical therapy. The magnitude of effect from DBS is greater than from medical management, but more severe side effects are possible with surgery. Future treatment options for ET will depend on valid animal models, and a better understanding of its pathophysiology.
    Current Treatment Options in Neurology 07/2013; · 2.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To use optical coherence tomography (OCT) and contrast letter acuity to characterize vision loss in Friedreich ataxia (FRDA). High- and low-contrast letter acuity and neurological measures were assessed in 507 patients with FRDA. In addition, OCT was performed on 63 FRDA patients to evaluate retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) and macular thickness. Both OCT and acuity measures were analyzed in relation to genetic severity, neurologic function, and other disease features. High- and low-contrast letter acuity was significantly predicted by age and GAA repeat length, and highly correlated with neurological outcomes. When tested by OCT, 52.7 % of eyes (n = 110) had RNFL thickness values below the fifth percentile for age-matched controls. RNFL thickness was significantly lowest for those with worse scores on the Friedreich ataxia rating scale (FARS), worse performance measure composite Z 2 scores, and lower scores for high- and low-contrast acuity. In linear regression analysis, GAA repeat length and age independently predicted RNFL thickness. In a subcohort of participants, 21 % of eyes from adult subjects (n = 29 eyes) had macular thickness values below the first percentile for age-matched controls, suggesting that macular abnormalities can also be present in FRDA. Low-contrast acuity and RNFL thickness capture visual and neurologic function in FRDA, and reflect genetic severity and disease progression independently. This suggests that such measures are useful markers of neurologic progression in FRDA.
    Journal of Neurology 06/2013; · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Clinical studies have reported that the nicotinic receptor agonist varenicline improves balance and coordination in patients with several types of ataxia, but confirmation in an animal model has not been demonstrated. This study investigated whether varenicline and nicotine could attenuate the ataxia induced in rats following destruction of the olivocerebellar pathway by the neurotoxin 3-acetylpyridine (3-AP). The administration of 3-AP (70 mg/kg followed by 300 mg niacinamide/kg; i.p.) led to an 85% loss of inferior olivary neurons within one week without evidence of recovery, and was accompanied by a 72% decrease in rotorod activity, a 3-fold increase in the time to traverse a stationary beam, a 19% decrease in velocity and 31% decrease in distance moved in the open field, and alterations in gait parameters, with a 19% increase in hindpaw stride width. The daily administration of nicotine (0.33 mg free base/kg) for one week improved rotorod performance by 50% and normalized the increased hindpaw stride width, effects that were prevented by the daily preadministration of the nicotinic antagonist mecamylamine (0.8 mg free base/kg). Varenicline (1 and 3 mg free base/kg daily) also improved rotorod performance by approximately 50% following one week of administration, but did not alter performance on the beam. Neither varenicline nor nicotine, at doses that improved balance, affected impaired locomotor activity in the open field. Results provide evidence that nicotinic agonists are of benefit for alleviating some of the behavioral deficits in olivocerebellar ataxia and warrant further studies to elucidate the specific mechanism(s) involved.
    Neuropharmacology 05/2013; · 4.82 Impact Factor
  • Movement Disorders 12/2012; · 5.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Many essential tremor patients continue to require tremor suppressing medications following deep brain stimulation. The true incidence of medication usage in the years following surgery remains unclear, and the use of medications has not been included in the post-operative analyses of tremor severity and also quality of life. METHODS: Among 28 essential tremor patients treated with deep brain stimulation at a single center between January 2002 and April 2010, we analyzed the prevalence and dosage of pre-operative tremor suppressing medications versus post-operative medications at 12 and 36 months following surgery. We also assessed the influence of medication continuation on clinical outcome measures, such as the Fahn-Tolosa-Marin Tremor Rating Scale, and the 36 item short-form health quality of life survey. RESULTS: Both unilateral and bilateral deep brain stimulation resulted in a decrease in primidone use (p = 0.0082, 0.046, respectively), and bilateral deep brain stimulation patients used less tremor suppressing medications 36 months following surgery (p = 0.02). The decision to discontinue primidone after surgery resulted in a non-significant long-term improvement in tremor motor score (23 points versus 15 points, p = 0.19), and did not significantly influence the physical and mental composite quality of life scores (p = 0.81, 0.23, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Bilateral deep brain stimulation effectively eliminated the need for tremor suppressing medications, while unilateral stimulation was not as effective in reducing medication usage. Clinicians and patients should be aware that discontinuation of primidone after surgery may worsen tremor in unilateral deep brain stimulation cases, but discontinuation will not likely impact quality of life.
    Parkinsonism & Related Disorders 10/2012; · 4.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to determine the reliability of a new scale for the clinical assessment of essential tremor. The Essential Tremor Rating Assessment Scale contains 9 performance items that rate action tremor in the head, face, voice, limbs, and trunk from 0 to 4 in half-point intervals. Head and limb tremor ratings are defined by specific amplitude ranges in centimeters. Videos of 44 patients and 6 controls were rated by 10 specialists on 2 occasions 1-2 months apart. Inter- and intrarater reliability was assessed with a 2-way random-effects intraclass correlation, using an absolute agreement definition. Inter- and intrarater intraclass correlations for head and upper-limb tremor ranged from 0.86 to 0.96, and intraclass correlations for total score were 0.94 and 0.96. The intraclass correlations for voice, face, trunk, and leg were less robust. This scale is an exceptionally reliable tool for the clinical assessment of essential tremor. © 2012 Movement Disorder Society.
    Movement Disorders 10/2012; 27(12):1567-9. · 5.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Movement disorders are chronic illnesses that can lead to functional impairment and psychological distress. This study examined the relations between functional impairment, depression, and anxiety in individuals with movement disorders, and whether these associations were mediated by feelings of self-perceived burden. This cross-sectional study sampled individuals (57 males and 57 females; mean age of 62) with chronic movement disorders from a movement disorders clinic. Patients completed measures of depression, anxiety, functional impairment, and self-perceived burden. Functional impairment was associated with depression, but not anxiety, and was mediated by self-perceived burden for individuals with chronic movement disorders. Self-perceived burden may have an important role relative to individuals' adaptation to chronic illness with implications for future interventions.
    Journal of Clinical Psychology 07/2012; 68(10):1149-60. · 2.12 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
453.71 Total Impact Points


  • 2012
    • Southern Illinois University School of Medicine
      Springfield, Illinois, United States
    • University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
      • Department of Neurology
      Houston, TX, United States
  • 1997–2012
    • University of South Florida
      • • Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center
      • • Department of Neurology
      Tampa, FL, United States
  • 2002–2008
    • Parkinson's and Movement Disorders Center Of Maryland
      Maryland, United States
  • 2007
    • Rush University Medical Center
      Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • 2006
    • The University of Calgary
      Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • 1999
    • Tampa General Hospital
      Tampa, Florida, United States