Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Science

Specialization

Nutrition

Department

Nutrition and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Ingrid Lofgren

Abstract

Background: Levodopa is the most commonly used medication to improve motor sequelae in persons with PD (PwPD). However, levodopa and dietary protein compete for absorption in the gut and blood brain barrier. Dietary proteins are essential for growth and physical functioning, which generally deteriorate with PD progression. Informal caregivers (ICG) often assist PwPD with meal and medication management, but have reported information deficits regarding dietary and medication management for PwPD.

Objective: To obtain qualitative information related to dietary knowledge and attitudes, and quantitative data on dietary behaviors from PwPD and their ICG.

Methods: Cross-sectional, mixed-methods study. A semi-structured interview was used to collect qualitative data. Quantitative data was collected through use of, two 24-hour dietary recalls and the Dietary Screening Tool.

Results: Ten dyads completed this study. All PwPD were found to be at possible nutrition risk, and consume an average protein intake above recommended values. The dyads reported misinformation, and limited knowledge surrounding medication and meal management. Emerging qualitative themes included Reliance on Caregiver for Buying and Preparing meals, Reduced Enjoyment of Foods and Meal Times, Barriers to Dietary Intake, Lack of Nutrition Knowledge, Barriers to Medication Management, Management of Symptoms, and, Access to Medication Information

Conclusion: There is a lack of nutrition and medication knowledge, and a need for more awareness of the protein-levodopa interaction and strategies to attenuate the fluctuations that may occur within the dyads. Interdisciplinary teams for PwPD could help to improve health and delay progression of PD if followed early in diagnosis.

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