Theresa A Zesiewicz

University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX, United States

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Publications (106)389.65 Total impact

  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    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
  • Neurology 11/2013; 81(22):1967. · 8.25 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. · 4.32 Impact Factor
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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; · 8.25 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. · 8.25 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; · 1.94 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; · 3.58 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; · 4.11 Impact Factor
  • Movement Disorders 12/2012; · 4.56 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; · 3.27 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. · 4.56 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
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of lubiprostone (Amitiza) for constipation in Parkinson disease (PD) in a double-blind, randomized, controlled study. Patients with PD and clinically meaningful constipation (constipation rating scale score > 10 [range: 0-28]) were recruited from 2 academic movement disorder centers to participate in the study. After enrollment, patients were initially followed for 2 weeks and then were randomly assigned 1:1 to lubiprostone, and the dose was titrated up to 48 μg/day. They returned 4 weeks later for a final assessment. Data included stool diaries and global impressions (co-primary endpoints), demographics, Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale scores, constipation scale scores, visual analog scale (VAS) scores, a stool diary, and adverse events. Fifty-four subjects (39 male, mean age 67.0 ± 10.1 years, and mean duration of PD 8.3 ± 5.4 years) were randomly assigned to lubiprostone or placebo. One patient in the drug group discontinued the study because of logistics, and one patient in the placebo group discontinued the study because of lack of efficacy. A marked or very marked clinical global improvement was reported by 16 of 25 (64.0%) subjects receiving drug vs 5 of 27 (18.5%) subjects receiving placebo (p = 0.001). The constipation rating scale (p < 0.05), VAS (p = 0.001), and stools per day in the diary (p < 0.001) all improved with drug compared with placebo. Adverse events with drug were mild, most commonly intermittent loose stools. In this randomized controlled trial, lubiprostone seemed to be well tolerated and effective for the short-term treatment of constipation in PD.
    Neurology 05/2012; 78(21):1650-4. · 8.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Friedreich ataxia is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by gait abnormalities, cardiomyopathy, and diabetes. Congestive heart failure was recently reported as the most frequent cause of Friedreich ataxia mortality. Cardiac dysfunction is suspected to result from a frataxin deficiency that leads to oxidative damage in cardiac tissues and possible metabolic syndrome characteristics. In this report, we describe 2 patient cases whose cardiac function worsened dramatically in the presence of underlying endocrinopathies. We report on one Friedreich ataxia teenager with previously undiagnosed diabetes that resulted in diabetic ketoacidosis and rapid progression to severe left ventricular dysfunction. We also describe a Friedreich ataxia teenager whose underlying Graves disease led to rapid worsening of known cardiomyopathy. Cardiac management and treatment for the endocrinopathies returned cardiac function to baseline. We conclude that screening for and awareness of underlying endocrinopathies in Friedreich ataxia may provide novel therapeutic targets for preventing Friedreich ataxia-associated cardiac dysfunction.
    Journal of child neurology 03/2012; 27(10):1316-9. · 1.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study was to evaluate the efficacy of varenicline (Chantix), a partial agonist at α4β2 neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors used for smoking cessation, in patients with spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) 3. Patients with genetically confirmed SCA3 were randomly assigned to receive either varenicline (4 weeks for titration and 4 weeks at a dose of 1 mg twice daily) or placebo. Outcome measures included changes in the Scale for the Rating and Assessment of Ataxia (SARA) scores at endpoint (8 weeks) compared with baseline, a timed 25-foot walk and 9-hole peg test, measurements of mood and anxiety, and adverse events. Twenty patients with SCA3 (mean age = 51 ± 10.98 years; mean disease duration = 14 ± 9.82 years; mean SARA score = 16.13 ± 4.67) were enrolled in the study, and data on 18 patients were analyzed in period I. The most common side effect associated with varenicline was nausea. Improvements were noted in the SARA subsections for gait (p = 0.04), stance (p = 0.03), rapid alternating movements (p = 0.003), and timed 25-foot walk (p = 0.05) and Beck Depression Inventory scores (p = 0.03) in patients taking varenicline compared with those taking placebo at endpoint, with a trend toward improvement in the SARA total score (p = 0.06) in the varenicline group. In this controlled study, varenicline significantly improved axial symptoms and rapid alternating movements in patients with SCA3 as measured by SARA subscores and was fairly well tolerated. This study provides Class II evidence that varenicline improved the axial functions of gait, stance, and timed 25-foot walk but did not improve appendicular function, except for rapid alternating movements, in adult patients with genetically confirmed SCA3.
    Neurology 02/2012; 78(8):545-50. · 8.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Essential tremor (ET) is one of the most common tremor disorders in the world. Despite this, only two medications have received Level A recommendations from the American Academy of Neurology to treat it (primidone and propranolol). Even though these medications provide relief to a large group of ET patients, up to 50% of patients are non-responders. Additional medications to treat ET are needed. This review discusses some of the methodological issues that should be addressed for quality clinical drug development in ET.
    Tremor and other hyperkinetic movements (New York, N.Y.). 01/2012; 2.
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    ABSTRACT: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an increasingly utilized therapeutic modality for the management of medication refractory essential tremor (ET). The aim of this study was to determine whether DBS allowed for anti-tremor medication reduction within the year after the procedure was performed. We conducted a retrospective chart review and telephone interviews on 34 consecutive patients who had been diagnosed with ET, and who had undergone unilateral DBS surgery. Of the 34 patients in our cohort, 31 patients (91%) completely stopped all anti-tremor medications either before surgery (21 patients, 62%) or in the year following DBS surgery (10 patients, 29%). Patients who discontinued tremor medications before DBS surgery did so because their tremors either became refractory to anti-tremor medication, or they developed adverse events to tremor medications. Patients who stopped tremor medications after DBS surgery did so due to sufficient tremor control. Only three patients (9%) who were taking tremor medications at the time of surgery continued the use of a beta-blocker post-operatively for the purpose of hypertension management in all cases. The data from this study indicate that medication cessation is common following unilateral DBS for ET.
    Tremor and other hyperkinetic movements (New York, N.Y.). 01/2012; 2.
  • Cynthia R Cimino, Craig A Siders, Theresa A Zesiewicz
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    ABSTRACT: Depression in Parkinson disease (PD) is associated with faster disease progression, lower activities of daily living, and more severe cognitive impairment. Even mild symptoms of depression may impact outcomes in patients with PD. Nevertheless, a low rate of agreement has been reported between patient and clinician ratings of depression, suggesting that clinicians may underestimate depression in patients with PD. However, to accurately compare the rates of agreement, comparable estimates are needed so that patient and clinician ratings have similar meaning (eg, mild, moderate, severe, etc). The purpose of this study was to examine this question by investigating the degree of association and rate of agreement of levels of symptom severity among self-report and clinician ratings using established cutoffs that correspond to more comparable estimates of these levels for both patient and clinician. Our findings suggest that patient's self-report of depressive symptoms was significantly correlated with clinician-based report irrespective of the stage of disease. Moreover, patients demonstrated a 72% rate of agreement with clinicians in classifying symptoms as asymptomatic, mildly symptomatic, or fully symptomatic, a rate significantly higher than the rate of 35% previously reported. This difference in rate of agreement may be accounted for using varying criteria for severity levels across the studies. Findings suggest that clinician and patient reports show a high rate of agreement across a range of depressive symptoms and that self-report measures may provide a relatively efficient means of detecting depressive symptoms especially if patients are disinclined to initiate their report.
    Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology 12/2011; 24(4):199-205. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This evidence-based guideline is an update of the 2005 American Academy of Neurology practice parameter on the treatment of essential tremor (ET). A literature review using MEDLINE, EMBASE, Science Citation Index, and CINAHL was performed to identify clinical trials in patients with ET published between 2004 and April 2010. Conclusions and recommendations for the use of propranolol, primidone (Level A, established as effective); alprazolam, atenolol, gabapentin (monotherapy), sotalol, topiramate (Level B, probably effective); nadolol, nimodipine, clonazepam, botulinum toxin A, deep brain stimulation, thalamotomy (Level C, possibly effective); and gamma knife thalamotomy (Level U, insufficient evidence) are unchanged from the previous guideline. Changes to conclusions and recommendations from the previous guideline include the following: 1) levetiracetam and 3,4-diaminopyridine probably do not reduce limb tremor in ET and should not be considered (Level B); 2) flunarizine possibly has no effect in treating limb tremor in ET and may not be considered (Level C); and 3) there is insufficient evidence to support or refute the use of pregabalin, zonisamide, or clozapine as treatment for ET (Level U).
    Neurology 11/2011; 77(19):1752-5. · 8.25 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
389.65 Total Impact Points


  • 2012
    • University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
      • Department of Neurology
      Houston, TX, United States
    • Southern Illinois University School of Medicine
      Springfield, Illinois, 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
  • 2006
    • The University of Calgary
      Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • 1999
    • Tampa General Hospital
      Tampa, Florida, United States