Category: TLM

Curtain Going Up!

Get your tickets now for another amazing season! Here are a few of the must-see performances.

A History of Violins

Celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of a mastermind who changed the musical landscape forever is no small undertaking. Fortunately, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra is more than up to the task of honoring Ludwig von Beethoven with performances that include Yekwon Sunwoo playing the Piano Concerto No. 3 (Sept. 20, 22, 2019); the Symphony No. 5 (Dec. 6, 8, 2019); Symphonies Numbers 1 and 6 (Feb. 14, 16, 2020); as well as a whole bunch of Beethoven symphonies played during the Masterworks Series (No. 4 on Oct. 5-6, 2019; Numbers 2 and 8, Jan. 11-12, 2020; No. 3, Feb. 29-March 1, 2020).

The TSO also will perform the monumental Mahler Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection” (April 3, 5, 2020), with Maestro José Luis Gomez on the podium, and Bruce Chamberlain directing the TSO Chorus.

Each season, we always expect a lot of star power to radiate from the stage when the TSO plays, and 2019-2020 will be no exception, with concerts featuring guitar virtuoso Sharon Isbin performing a concerto by John Corigliano (Nov. 15, 17, 2019); violin superstar Tessa Lark playing a folk-music-influenced piece that was written for her by Michael Torke (Oct. 25, 27, 2019); and Paul Huang playing Samuel Barber’s immensely popular Violin Concerto (March 13, 15, 2020).

Among the numerous delights awaiting subscribers to the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra’s season are the opportunity to hear Melanie Chae perform Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous Piano Concerto No. 1 (March 14-15, 2020); and Andrea Trovato play Gershwin’s jazz-infused Rhapsody in Blue (April 25-26, 2020).

The Arizona Friends of Chamber Music continue to bring many of the best musicians in the world right to our doorstep, with a season that will include the Russian String Orchestra (Oct. 23, 2019) playing works by Dvorak, Schnittke and Hindemith; the much-loved Takács Quartet returning (Dec. 4, 2019) for a concert that includes two Beethoven quartets and a Haydn quartet); and exciting new groups such as Neave Trio (Dec. 12, 2019) playing a program of all female composers, including Jennifer Higdon; and Lineage Percussion (Feb. 23, 2020) ably demonstrating the many ways that their instruments can be the heart and soul of an orchestra.

The groundwork for so much of the popular classical repertoire was laid back in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is the mission of the Arizona Early Music Society to give audiences the opportunity to hear this outstanding music (and that of other eras), played by some of the finest musicians in the world, in intimate concert settings. Included in this season’s programming will be the group Quicksilver playing a program of Extravagant and Virtuosic Music from 17th-Century Germany (Dec. 8, 2019); Agave Baroque, joined by countertenor Reginald Mobley, to perform a concert (Jan. 19, 2020) of composers born in the Americas, including African-American composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries; and legendary violinist Rachel Barton Pine with Trio Settecento in a program of works by Arcangelo Corelli and his contemporaries (March 22, 2020).

Tucson Guitar Society consistently provides the community with exciting music from guitarists with international reputations, as well as some spectacular homegrown talent. Among the highlights will be Duo Assad, the Grammy-winning brothers Sérgio and Odair (Nov. 2-3, 2019) whose performances showcase the beauty and the versatility of their instruments; and David Russell (Feb. 22-23, 2020), a world-renowned instrumentalist who will not only perform solo, but also present a recital of the finalists of his David Russell Bach Prize (Feb. 26, 2020).

Trumpeter Ingrid Jensen jazzes it up for UA Presents on March 3, 2020. Photo by Jimmy Katz

UA Presents will feature a number of not-to-be-missed artists, including the eclectic Kronos Quartet (Jan. 18, 2020); violinist extraordinaire Itzhak Perlman (March 1, 2020); and for fans of mindblowing jazz, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen (March 3, 2020).

Be sure to check the schedules online for the concerts by the UA Fred Fox School of Music (, and Pima Community College ( index.html ). The quality of both the faculty performances and student recitals is incredible, and the ticket prices are very pocketbook friendly.

OK, Chorale

Whether you have an obsession with oratorio, you’re inclined toward arias, or show stoppers set your feet to tapping, you’ll find lots to love this season.

The TSO will be joined by both vocal groups and soloists, including for a concert of works by Rossini, with soprano Federica Lombardi and the TSO Chorus (Jan. 24, 26, 2020). Renée Fleming, one of the most acclaimed singers of our time, whose performances have included operas, musicals and programs of jazz and pop standards, joins the TSO for one evening (Feb. 6, 2020) as part of the Tucson Desert Song Festival.

Arizona Opera will stage several beloved classics, including La Bohème (Feb. 1-2, 2020) and Ariadne auf Naxos (April 11-12, 2020), as well as present some newer works, such as the Frank Lloyd Wright-themed Shining Brow (Oct. 5-6, 2020), the McCarthy-era Fellow Travelers (Nov. 16-17, 2019), and a reprise of the AZ Opera-commissioned work Riders of the Purple Sage (March 7-8, 2020).

True Concord Voices & Orchestra [see story, page 16] specializes in the alchemy that results from singers and other instruments coming together. With a theme this season of In Genius, you know you’ll hear some of the most beautiful combinations imaginable, especially with concerts such as the Mozart & da Vinci offering (Nov. 22-24, 2019) that will include a new work by Jocelyn Hagen based on the great inventor’s notebooks. The works of Shakespeare also will be honored (Oct. 11-13, 2019), as well as the melding of Goethe’s text and Brahms’ divine music (Feb. 21-23, 2020).

You’ll hear some very familiar choral pieces during SASO’s concert season, including two works that are so popular they have found their way into countless movie soundtracks: Carmina Burana (Nov. 16-17. 2019), and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (April 25-26, 2020), both with soloists and The Helios Ensemble.

UA Presents will welcome to town a variety of exciting vocalists, including Lila Downs, joined by Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company and Mariachi Femenil (Oct. 16, 2019), and classically trained cabaret singer Cécile McLorin Salvant (April 8, 2020) with The Aaron Diehl Trio.

Musicals, both new and classic, will abound in 2019-2020. Look for a full season from Broadway in Tucson that will include Anastasia (Nov. 19-24, 2019), about a mysterious woman who may be a surviving member of the Romanov family; an adaptation of Chazz Palminteri’s oneman show A Bronx Tale (March 24-29, 2020) into a full-blown song-and-dance 1960s spectacular; and Come From Away (June 2-7, 2020) based on the true story of the towns in Newfoundland that took in stranded passengers during 9/11.

Arizona Theatre Company stages a 50-year-old work that continues to be topical, Cabaret (Nov. 30-Dec. 29, 2019), along with a newer musical that also touches on issues of intolerance, The Legend of Georgia McBride (March 7-28, 2020).

Get to the Pointe

Dance continues to have a strong presence in the Old Pueblo, with full seasons by Ballet Tucson and UA Dance, as well as a number of big companies performing as part of the UA Presents schedule.

Ballet Tucson will present Jekyll & Hyde, Oct. 31, Nov. 1, Nov. 3, 2019. Photo by Ed Flores

Among the highlights are the return of BT’s steampunk-driven Jekyll & Hyde production (Oct. 31, Nov. 1, Nov. 3, 2019), as well as Balanchine’s Serenade (Jan. 31, Feb. 1-2, 2020) along with the Ballet Tucson premiere of Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco (March 13-15, 2020).

UA Dance highlights the strengths of its student dancers throughout the year, with special emphasis on up-and-coming talent during In the Wings (Dec. 5-8, 2019) and Curtain Call (April 23-May 2, 2020). Audiences also can view the skills of some of the faculty and guest artists during concert such as Premium Blend (Nov. 13-17, 2019).

Also on campus, UA Presents will thrill audiences with the innovative work of Brazilian troupe Grupo Corpo (Feb. 8, 2020), and the comic-yet-intense Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (March 18, 2020).

I Remember Drama

Dierdra McDowell stars in Down to Eartha for Invisible Theatre Nov. 22-23, 2019.

Few theatrical companies in the country present the type of season — thought-provoking, heartwarming and laughter-laden — that Invisible Theatre does. This year, they will present a number of Arizona or Southwest premieres, including the historically based Last Train to Nibroc (Oct. 22-Nov. 3, 2019), which centers on two strangers on a locomotive that also bears the bodies of the great American writers Nathanael West and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The season also includes Becoming Dr. Ruth (Feb. 11-23, 2020), a play about the famous sex-therapist; the return of playwright/actor Steve Solomon in From Brooklyn to Broadway (March 14-15, 2020); and a show about the career and activism of singer/actress Eartha Kitt, Down to Eartha (Nov. 22-23, 2019).

Arizona Theatre Company has a very diverse season, including Lauren Gunderson’s Silent Sky (Oct. 22-Nov. 9, 2019), based on the true story of 19th century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt. Athol Fugard’s moving tale of apartheidera South Africa, “Master Harold” … And the Boys (Jan. 18-Feb. 8, 2020) shows how timeless its message about humanity is; and Wendy MacLeod imagines a group of middle-aged women turning amateur sleuths in the comic Women in Jeopardy! (April 18-May 9, 2020).

Arizona Repertory Theatre proves how exciting it can be to watch burgeoning young actors sink their teeth into exciting works, with plays such as The Wolves (Feb. 8-23, 2020), which centers on a girls’ soccer team; and Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona (March 16-29, 2020), one of the earliest of the Bard’s comedies, which demonstrates his knack for works that rely on disguises, presumed deaths, and love winning out in the end.

There are numerous other theatrical companies in town whose performances are worthy of your time and attention. Checkout our monthly Datebook for productions by The Rogue Theatre, Something Something Theatre Company, Borderlands Theater, Live Theatre Workshop, Winding Road Theater Ensemble, Unscrewed Theater, as well as other groups.


Whether you’re a film fan, a devotee of music, an aficionado of live theater, or some hybrid, chances are there is a festival coming up you won’t want to miss. Here is a partial list for 2019-20:

Arizona Underground Film Festival (Sept. 13-22, 2019)

Film Fest Tucson (Oct. 10-12, 2019)

Tucson Terrorfest (Oct. 24-27, 2019)

Tucson Comic-con (Nov. 1-3, 2019)

Loft Film Fest (Nov. 7-14, 2019)

Tucson International Jewish Film Festival (Jan. 2020)

Tucson Jazz Festival (Jan. 10-20, 2020)

Tucson Desert Song Festival (Jan. 16-Feb. 6, 2020)

Tucson Festival of Books (March 2020)

Arizona Friends of Chamber Music’s Winter Festival (March 1-8, 2020)

Wild West Steampunk Convention (March 2020)

Blues & Heritage Festival (March 2020)

Arizona International Film Festival (April 2020)

Tucson International Mariachi Festival (April 2020)

The Tucson Folk Festival (April 4-5, 2020)

BELOW: The Legend of Georgia McBride will be the ATC musical offering March 7-28, 2020. Artwork courtesy of ATC

Trio Settecento, with Rachel Barton Pine, thrills AEMS audiences on March 22, 2020. Photo by Janette Beckman

Summer Getaway Contest

Nestled in the Sonoran Desert, just outside Scottsdale, CIVANA is an emergent hospitality brand grounded in a holistic approach to wellness. Conceived as an approachable alternative to many wellness resorts, CIVANA believes that all people value wellness. Between a world-class spa, premier classes and facilities, healthy cuisine, and welcoming accommodations, CIVANA offers the very best of the wellness experience. CIVANA also offers nearly 15,000 square foot of meeting space.

Enter to win a CIVANA Summer Getaway! Winner will be announced on August 1, 2019.

Package includes:

  • 3-day, 2-night stay in our newly renovated luxury overnight accommodations in either a King or Deluxe Queen room (includes tax and nightly experience fee)*
  • 2, 60-minute spa services (classic massage or facial)
  • Unlimited daily movement and enrichment classes
  • Access to the brand new Spa at CIVANA and all of the amenities including the Aqua Vitality Circuit
  • Access to 10+ wellness experts
  • Access to resort fitness center, Trek Hybrid bikes, hiking trails and athletic courts
  • Access to resort pools, spa pool deck and cabanas
  • Complimentary valet parking
  • Daily shuttle to nearby attractions
  • Stainless steel CIVANA water bottle

*NOTE: Reservations are based upon availability. Advanced reservations are required certificate valid during one stay only. Holidays and other blackout dates may apply.  All components of the certificate must be consumed during the stay; no cash value and is non-transferable.  Does not include alcohol, gratuity or tax.  Must be 21 or older.  Lost or stolen certificates will not be re-issued. The use of this certificate expires January 31, 2020.  Certificate must be presented at time of check-in and noted on the reservation prior to arrival.


Official Contest Rules


Dogged Determination



Tom Spitz



“Gordon has webbed feet, and he loves to give hugs!”


















“Scout has an affectionate personality, and tassels on her ears!”

The Event

All winners, no losers.

That’s who showed up at the annual Tucson Lifestyle Cover Dog Search, held Feb. 9 at La Encantada.

Every one of the 150 canines was with loving members of their human family, and all were excited for the chance to see and be seen by the celebrity judges, who included Heather Rowe (co-host of KGUN 9’s Tucson Morning Blend), Dan Gibson (Director of Communications for Visit Tucson), and Scott Barker (Tucson Lifestyle’s Editor in Chief). Along with the contest, people and dogs alike were able to meet with vendors who provide services or products for animal companions. Monies raised from entry fees benefited the many programs of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.

As for the prize-winning pooch this year, that honor goes to Gordon, a Staffordshire terrier/French bulldog/ English bulldog mix. He was accompanied by his people, Christy and Matt Swinford. Christy explained to the judges, “Gordon and nine other dogs were rescued from abusive and neglectful conditions in Sierra Vista in late 2014. The dogs were all in poor condition, and Gordon was expected to lose his left eye, but luckily he didn’t. Smiling Dog Rescue housed the dogs for nine months until the criminal case was resolved, and we were fortunate to bring him into our family. He is the sweetest, snuggliest little potato, and we love him so much!”

The runner-up was Scout, a golden retriever/shepherd mix, brought to the competition by Lilly Tees, who noted that, “Scout was adopted in October 2016 from Lifeline Oro Valley Animal Rescue. She was born on the streets of South Tucson, one of five in her litter. Her rambunctious nature led to her original name, Anarchy, which we changed. When we brought her home at three months old, she was able to experience running on grass for the first time, and she hasn’t stopped since!”

Amazing April


2019 NAMIWalks Southern Arizona

Don your favorite sneakers, grab your friends and join other community-minded folks in NAMIWalks, which raises funds for the National Alliance on Mental Illness Southern Arizona.

This 501c3 is a grassroots organization that addresses the mental health needs of our community, replaces the stigma of mental illness with understanding, and helps thousands of families and individuals each year. At NAMIWalks Southern Arizona’s 13th annual 5k event, funds raised will help the organization to offer no-cost advocacy, education and support programs.

The event’s honorary chairpersons are U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick and Arizona Sen. David Bradley, who are strong supporters of NAMI and improving mental health services in Arizona and nationwide.

There is no registration fee, but participants are encouraged to collect donations from friends and family, or to organize teams of walkers for the same purpose.

In addition to the 5k walk (3k and 1k routes also are available), the event features a festival, with speakers, entertainment, children’s activities, and a resource fair with 25-30 organizations providing information on mental health and services.

NAMI Southern Arizona has set a goal to raise $140,000 and sign up 100 teams; last year, more than $123,000 was raised and 79 teams entered! is a media partner. Other partners include KOLD-13, i-Heart Media; KXCI Community Radio; AdVision; Cox Communications; Comcast; and The Loft Cinema.

NAMIWalks Southern Arizona

Check in: 7:30 a.m.; walk at 9 a.m.; program runs 8-11 a.m. Kennedy Park Fiesta Area, 3359 S. La Cholla Blvd. Free event; however, participants are encouraged to raise funds to support NAMI

Register at, or call 622-5582 for more information.


100th Baile de las Flores

The Baile de las Flores was first presented in 1920 to benefit St. Luke’s and the tubercular patients in their care. Today, the Baile supports St. Luke’s and the elders who make it their home. The Baile is the signature fundraising gala of the Board of Visitors. The women of the Board of Visitors have served the Tucson community for an impressive century and stand as one of the oldest female organizations in Southern Arizona.

The April 6th event will feature a delectable dinner, lively entertainment, raffle of an original oil painting donated by artist Barbara Gurwitz, a spectacular silent auction, the popular Wheel of Whine or Wine, original artwork donated by past Baile de las Flores artists, and a display of historic items. All proceeds benefit St. Luke’s Home.

St. Luke’s Home is a holistic, assisted-living community for-low income elders in Tucson, a region where 46 percent of older adults bring in less than $30,000 a year, well below the average cost of $48,000 a year for assisted-living care. Choices for quality housing and care for low-income elders are limited, and for many St. Luke’s is the only quality option available. All of the elders pay what they can to live at St. Luke’s, but as a non-profit 501(c)(3), St. Luke’s subsidizes, on average, $10,000 annually per elder. is a media sponsor.

Baile de las Flores 6 p.m.

JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa Tickets: $200 per person

For more information, call 628-1512 or email


Drop in at the Dropout – A Pop-up Event

Drop in at Tucson’s hottest new pop-up shopping and social event for both men and women on Sunday, Apr. 14.

Angel Charity for Children, Inc., is partnering with Culinary Dropout, one of Tucson’s hottest restaurants, to premiere its newest fundraiser — a unique sip and shop experience that combines shopping with food, craft cocktails, music, entertainment and a cigar and

whiskey lounge.

Enjoy a casual and leisurely afternoon shopping, or catching up and relaxing with friends over your favorite brew. Open to the public, the community event runs from 4 to 7 p.m. VIP early shopping access tickets, allowing entry at 3 p.m. and including one drink ticket, cost $100. General admission is $35.

Event highlights include:

• Fashion, clothing, jewelry, art, pottery and more from local retailers and artists.

• Music entertainment by DJ Lokey throughout the event.

• Chance to win two tickets to see Ariana Grande in concert; raffle prizes from each vendor.

• Many more door prizes announced throughout the event.

• Tequila shot ice luge.

All proceeds benefit Angel Charity for Children’s 2019 beneficiaries. is a media partner.

Drop in at the Dropout

4-7 p.m.

Culinary Dropout General Admission: $35; VIP Tickets: $100.

Reserve tickets at


Puttin’ On The Dog

Put your money where your heart is! Puttin’ on the Dog is the Humane Society of Southern Arizona’s largest fundraiser of the year, and in 2019 celebrates its 21st anniversary with the introduction of a casino theme and charity gaming tent.

Gather your friends and family — including your well-behaved dogs — and join HSSA on Apr. 6 at a new venue, Kino Sports Complex, for a fun-filled night of fine food, drink, music, live and silent auction, prizes and gaming.

This year’s Canine Casino Royale tent will include blackjack, roulette, slot machines and craps tables. A stack of chips is included with each ticket purchase to get you started, with more chips available by donation. You can win big, too! The person with the most chips at the end of the night wins a grand prize travel package.

Speaking of winning, the Puttin’ on the Dog live and silent auctions include vacation packages to Alaska and San Francisco, jewelry, restaurant dining, autographed music memorabilia, art, unique experiences and even a chance to have your pet star in HSSA’s 2020 Super Bowl ad.

For complete details and ticket information, please visit

Puttin’ On The Dog

Kino Sports Complex

For tickets or more information, go to



“Peace, Love, Centurions — A Party 50 Years in the Making”

A rockin’ band, cocktails and drinks, groovy grub buffet, special events, fun & games, a costume contest, charity casino, “purple haze” cigar and specialty drinks, raffles and more!

Join 5,000 of your friends on April 27 at Kino Sports Complex to party like it’s 1969.

The Centurions’ “Peace, Love, Centurions — A Party 50 Years in the Making” will invoke the spirit of Woodstock for a night. It’s all for charity, and the goal is to raise more than $200,000 to help underserved community members, primarily in the areas of health care, education and mentorship, with an emphasis on improving children’s lives.

Tucson Medical Center is the Presenting Sponsor of the event, and all of the proceeds will benefit TMC for Children — a Children’s Medical Center; Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals — Helping Local Kids; Youth On Their Own; Boys to Men Mentoring of Tucson; and San Miguel High School.

The Centurions have raised more than $8 million for local charities through its annual fundraising event. Charities they have supported include Tu Nidito, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson, Youth On Their Own, Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson, Boys to Men Mentoring, TMC for Children, and St. Mary’s Burn Center and Hospice Care. is a media partner.

“Peace, Love, Centurions”

6 p.m.-12 a.m.

Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium Tickets $95

For more information or tickets, call 795-1071 or visit

Parkinson’s Disease: Solving The Mystery

Although an understanding of Parkinson’s disease dates back to at least the early 19th century, there is still much research to be done. Here is what you need to know about diagnosis and treatment options.

By Elena Acoba

Parkinson’s disease is confounding. The medical community doesn’t know what causes it. No two patients have the same symptoms or progress through the degenerative movement disorder in the same way. It’s hard to diagnose. There is no cure or way to slow its progression. And medical treatments lose their effectiveness over time.

But that doesn’t mean that someone with Parkinson’s can’t live a fulfilling life. “There are currently no treatments that delay the progression of Parkinson’s disease,” says Sarah Sullivan, D.O., a neuro-hospitalist with Northwest Medical Center and Oro Valley Hospital. “There are treatments, however, that improve a patient’s symptoms and quality of life, as well as decrease risks such as falls.”

About 60,000 Amer-icans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease every year. Around 10 to 20 percent of them have young onset, meaning they were diagnosed at age 50 or younger, says Rebecca Gilbert, M.D., Ph.D., vice president and chief scientific officer of the American Parkinson Disease Association. Some one million Americans live with the disease, including about 14,200 Arizonans.

It’s a difficult diagnosis for someone to receive.

“Patients often feel overwhelmed and anxious upon first hearing the words,” says Dr. Sullivan. “I review the medication and treatment options that we will consider in an effort to reassure patients that although we cannot cure the disease, there are many things we can do to manage it.”

Sarah Sullivan, D.O., a neuro-hospitalist with Northwest Medical Center and Oro Valley Hospital.

The first line of treatment for symptoms is the medication levodopa in various formulations and dosages. This drug allows the brain’s nerve cells to create dopamine, the neurotransmitter whose absence triggers Parkinson’s symptoms. The exact formula and dosage need continual adjustment taking into account the patient’s specific symptoms and disease progression.

The medication eventually no longer works, or its side effects become hard to tolerate. At that point, patients can consider deep brain stimulation (DBS). This could extend the relief of movement symptoms for 10 years or more, says Joseph Christiano, M.D., a neurosurgeon with Western Neuro.

In the procedure, two electrodes are placed in areas of the brain where Parkinson’s is disrupting movement control. These leads are connected to a battery pack that’s inserted under the skin of the chest. Electrical pulses adjusted to the patient’s specific needs are transmitted into the brain to help it control tremors and other movement symptoms.

“Ninety-plus percent of people see results,” says Dr. Christiano. “They can get significant improvement for various symptoms such as tremor, slowness and stiffness, gait issues and imbalance.”

With results like that, one might seek out the brain surgery as soon as possible. But, like a lot about Parkinson’s, it’s not that simple.

“Every patient’s Parkinson’s is slightly different,” Dr. Christiano says. “Medication often is very effective in the early stages and allows time for both the diagnosis and the trajectory of the disease to become clear. There are other disorders that appear similar to Parkinson’s disease, and it is important to clearly establish the right diagnosis.”

A typical Parkinson’s patient can consider DBS as early as three years after diagnosis, but this may depend on how fast the symptoms worsen.

“DBS is a well-studied, safe and effective treatment for Parkinson’s disease, and will be the next logical choice for many patients at some point in their disease,” says Dr. Christiano.

“There are other disorders that appear similar to Parkinson’s disease, and it is important to clearly establish the right diagnosis” – Joseph Christiano, M.D.

The Federal Drug Administration recently has approved the use of focused ultrasound to manage tremors. The nonsurgical procedure creates a lesion in the area of the brain where Parkinson’s has caused abnormal circuitry for movement.

Although medical options appear limited, many people can keep Parkinson’s symptoms at bay with lifestyle changes. This may be one benefit of having an early diagnosis even though there is no cure.

Rebecca Gilbert, M.D., Ph.D., vice president, chief scientific officer of the American Parkinson Disease Association. Photo by Abdulai Sesay.

“Some would argue that knowing that you have the disease is vital so that you can understand the changes that are happening in your body, increase exercise and plan for the future,” says Dr. Gilbert. “This should occur as early as possible.”

There are many ways to keep movement stable as long as possible.

Some physical therapy programs specific to Parkinson’s focus on exaggerating movements like arm swing and stride. Exercises that encourage loud speech help with maintaining vocal control.

Movement-dependent activities like video games, boxing, yoga, dance, swimming and tai chi help elevate mobility and mood. Any exercise is good, but doing them as intensely as possible shows more benefit.

Appropriate diets can address constipation, a common issue with Parkinson’s patients. Dr. Sullivan also suggests working with a doctor or dietician on the timing of eating certain foods, such as those high in protein, which can affect levodopa absorption.

An entire health team can respond to issues as they come up. Dr. Gilbert suggests a movement disorder specialist, primary care provider, rehabilitation specialists, nurse, nutritionist, neuropsychologist and social worker.

Research continues on many fronts: discovering genetic and environmental factors that cause the disease; detecting it before symptoms occur and brain damage becomes irreversible; and formulating treatments that can slow or stop its progression and for non-motor symptoms.

Joseph Christiano, M.D., a neurosurgeon with Western Neuro.

For Dr. Christiano, the way DBS is done — the procedure doesn’t change the brain structure — shows that the medical community has not given up.

“The key point,” he says, “is we are hopeful that somebody will come up with a cure for Parkinson’s, and since we didn’t change the brain cells, it might still be effective for DBS patients.”


Some people who present with typical Parkinson’s symptoms also may show unrelated symptoms. This condition is known as Parkinsonism or Parkinson’s plus. Parkinsonism can appear in people with a history of stroke, head injuries or exposure to certain medications. It’s also evident in other diseases, such as Lewy body dementia and progressive supranuclear palsy.

“Because there is no single definitive test of Parkinson’s disease, these conditions sometimes are misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s early on,” says Dr. Sullivan.

Medications and therapies for classic Parkinson’s don’t work as well in these patients, and the disease may progress faster.


  • Tremors at rest
  • Decreased blinking
  • Handwriting that gets smaller
  • Small movements of the hands and feet
  • Arm, leg stiffness
  • Stooped posture
  • Decreased arm swing
  • Shuffling walk
  • Turning by taking several steps instead of pivoting
  • Changes in vocal quality There also are symptoms not related to movement, including
  • Loss of smell or reduced sensitivity to odors
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression, anxiety, psychosis
  • Gastrointestinal, urinary issues
  • Excessive sweating
  • Cognitive, personality changes


April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month, and Tucson has several resources to offer. Dr. Sullivan sees much interest among patients on how to live well with Parkinson’s.

“It’s something I see in Tucson a lot,” she says. “They are hungry for more information, more education. Many Tucson patients and winter visitors are intensely motivated to participate in their care. They want to stay young, vital, vibrant and active.”

Here are some locally based resources.

American Parkinson Disease Association Arizona runs three programs: a lecture series on the first Tuesday of the month; a support group for patients and caregivers every third Tuesday of the month; and for newly diagnosed patients, an eight-week class: “Parkinson’s Roadmap for Education and Support Services.” For more information: or 326-5400.

The Parkinson and Movement Disorder Alliance lists several support group meetings and exercise classes, as well as online and streaming resources. The organization will hold an educational event July 25. For more information: or 800-256-0966.

Parkinson Wellness Recovery focuses on exercise and other ways for the brain to adapt to the effects of the disease. For more information: or 591-5346.

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About Us

Tucson Lifestyle Magazine is Tucson's only glossy, monthly city magazine, targeting Southern Arizona’s affluent residents. With over 35 years of publishing experience, Tucson Lifestyle is committed to showcasing the people, places, local flavors, and attractions that make our city unique.

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Tucson, AZ 85715

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