This World Parkinson's Day - thank you, physicians!

News
08 Apr 2021

This Sunday, 11th April, is World Parkinson's Day. Marked for the birthday of Dr James Parkinson, a London-born GP who dedicated his life and work to his patients, to the mental and physical wellbeing of those around him, and to wider health reform and political change.

Traditionally, World Parkinson's Day is a day to raise awareness of Parkinson's disease itself. Many other brilliant organisations are doing just that. However, in honour of the physician who the condition is named after, and given the incredibly challenging work environment they are all operating in right now, we would like to take a moment to acknowledge and thank the many other brilliant physicians working with people with Parkinson's today.

Transforming lives through local work

So many of our brilliant healthcare practitioners are transforming the lives of people with Parkinson's every day, in little ways and large.

Our recent cohort of Parkinson's MasterClass delegates highlights some of the ways that local practitioners are assessing, adapting, and improving their services through their intermodule projects - many in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Project winner was specialist registrar Dr Marie-Claire Grounds who examined patient and carer perspectives of Parkinson's telephone clinics during the COVID pandemic whose practice will aim to combine telephone and in-person clinics in the future as a result of her findings.

Sharing good practice

There has been some wonderful innovation over the past year or so, in big ways and small, and we want to thank each and every professional who has shared their experience and learning through our Parkinson's webinars.

From exercise and diet within lockdown, to managing medication and supporting COVID recovery in Parkinson's patients, through to optimal service delivery or virtual consultations, we're grateful to the 26 speakers who have given up time they didn't really have to share their knowledge more widely!

Webinars on Parkinson's support, services and management during COVID

Research and 'cure'

James Parkinson himself hoped for a cure, in time:

'...there appears to be sufficient reason for hoping that some remedial process may ere long be discovered, by which, at least, the progress of the disease may be stopped.'

(taken from "An Essay On The Shaking Palsy' first published 1803)

Whilst a single cure is unlikely, Parkinson's UK highlights a raft of recent research and future plans leading towards a range of therapies, treatments and strategies combining medical and lifestyle interventions, tailored to each individual could:

  • slow or stop the progression of the condition

  • replace or repair lost or damaged brain cells

  • control and manage particular symptoms

Thank you to everyone involved in research in Parkinson's who is helping to take us closer to this vision.

Prevention

A great deal of work is being done to help prevent Parkinson's, with books like 'Ending Parkinson's Disease' written by Ray Dorsey, Todd Sherer, Michael Okun and Bas Bloem.

Not only a book, but a movement initiated by physicians, they launched a 'red card campaign' on 16th March this year to call for the United States to:

  • ban the three chemicals known to increase risk of Parkinson's - paraquat, chlorpyrifos and trichloroethylene

  • make Medicare's coverage of telecare permanent

  • Increase Parkinson's research funding

Find out more about the movement, or listen to experts discuss the latest breakthroughs in Parkinson's research and care via video recording on the website: https://endingpd.org/ .

'The things you can't get from the books'

Parkinson's Academy, our original and longest running Academy, houses 17 years of inspirational projects, resources, and evidence for improving outcomes for people with Parkinson's. Led by co-founder and educational director Dr Peter Fletcher, the Academy has a truly collegiate feel and prides itself on delivering 'the things you can't get from books' - a practical learning model which inspires all Neurology Academy courses.