Article on Stress and CBD (in new CBD Newsletter)

CBD folks –

The long-time owner of the Washington Wizards NBA basketball franchise was Abe Pollin. He died in late 2009. His clinical diagnosis was CBD, and I heard from someone who is in the PSP community in the Washington, D.C. area that the diagnosis was confirmed upon brain autopsy.

Irene Litvan, MD, is one of this country’s leading experts on CBD. Several years ago she started the Litvan Neurological Research Foundation, named in memory of her father. Abe Pollin donated to LNRF, which led to the creation of the Center of Excellence in Corticobasal Degeneration. This COE is presented located at the University of Louisville in KY, which is where Dr. Litvan currently works.

The Center is working to establish its own website — (under construction).

I was digging around on the web tonight and found that the Center has published its inaugural newsletter in Spring 2010. Here’s a link to that newsletter: … 202010.pdf

There are interesting articles on:
* the Center’s creation
* profile of Abe Pollin
* CBD diagnostic criteria being reformulated
* profile of Dr. Irene Litvan
* stress and CBD
* fall prevention

The remainder of this post is a copy of the “Stress and Corticobasal Degeneration” article.


Stress and Corticobasal Degeneration
CBD Newsletter
Volume 1, Issue 1, Spring 2010
The Center of Excellence in Corticobasal Degeneration

It’s no secret that your mental state can have an effect on your physical well-being. Dealing with the effects of a disease like CBD, either as a patient or as a caregiver, is a very real and perfectly rational cause of stress, but too much stress can have a severe negative effect on your health. This article explores the nature of stress and suggests some methods of reducing its impact on your life.

What is Stress?
Stress is your body’s natural response to a threat. When you are faced with a physical threat, your body releases hormones and adrenaline that help you prepare to either fight the threat, or flee from it. Most commonly, when we refer to “stress” in our daily lives, we are not referring to a physical threat, but rather some perceived psychological or emotional threat. The illness of yourself or a loved one is a typical cause of psychological stress.

In small doses, stress can be beneficial, it can help you to overcome challenges and to excel by increasing your performance capacity. If stress continues for too long, however, it can begin to have a severe toll on your body, in fact chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body! Typical effects of chronic stress include pain, heart disease, liver problems, digestive problems, sleep disturbances, and autoimmune diseases, among others.

Stress & CBD
In terms of corticobasal degeneration, increased stress is a normal reaction whether you are the pa-tient diagnosed with the disease or the spouse or loved one caring for a family member with the diagnosis. CBD is a chronic and debilitating disease for which we do not know a cause or an effective course of treatment. You would be very unique if the presence of CBD in your life, in any capacity, didn’t cause you stress.

Because of the lack of knowledge about CBD, its chronic nature, and the level of care needed to maintain patients diagnosed with the disease, CBD-caused stress very typically drifts from the “normal” stress range into the “unhealthy” stress range. So, what can you do to prevent a CBD induced stress overload?

Fighting CBD Stress
Like a gladiator heading to the arena, the first order of business in dealing with CBD stress is to arm yourself appropriately. In the fight against CBD induced stress, the weapon of choice is knowledge.

Yes, its true that very little is known about the causes of CBD or how to treat the disease or even prevent symptoms, but as a patient or as a caregiver, you should still arm yourself with the best knowledge available. Learning all you can about the progression of disease symptoms, while sobering, can help reduce anxiety over what the future will bring. Learning about adaptive devices and techniques that can help CBD patients retain their independence can ease feelings of helplessness and reduce caregiver strain. In general, the more you know, the better prepared you will be to deal with the future, and the better prepared you feel, the less stress you will experience.

Another key way to reduce stress is to build a strong support group. The more friends and family members you know you can count on, the less stressed you will feel. Some of us are blessed with good support networks, others not so much. If you find yourself dealing with your situation on your own, then its time to reach out for help. Old friends, co-workers, family members you haven’t talked to for a while, all can be good general sources of support.

For CBD patients and their caregivers, a number of support groups exist or are being formed that can put you in contact with other patients and caregivers who are dealing with the same issues. Regardless of the form your support group takes, it is a very important tool in reducing your stress load.

Other ways to reduce stress or better prepare your body to deal with the effects of stress include exercise, yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises. These activities help our bodies to initiate a relaxation response, the opposite of a stress response.

If you feel that you are slipping into despair or depression, seek out the help of a trained therapist.

For more information on decreasing stress, a number of books have been published on the subject and can be found at your local library, book store or online outlet.

The Center of Excellence in Corticobasal Degeneration is committed to helping patients, their families, and caregivers deal with stress due to CBD. In the near future we will be providing support groups and stress-related work-shops in the Louisville, KY area, as well as coordinating with other providers of similar services throughout the United States to assist individuals in finding re-sources near their location.

Please visit for more details.