VIDEO: People with Parkinson’s freeze for ‘mannequin challenge’
Author: Almaz OhenePublished: 5 January 2017
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Parkinson’s campaigners worldwide are taking up the ‘mannequin challenge’ – the latest social media trend to sweep the web – to show that ‘freezing’ is part of everyday life for many people with the condition
To share the reality of ‘freezing of gait’, major Parkinson’s organisations around the world have filmed their own versions of the popular social media trend, the #MannequinChallenge. Here are three of the most popular – from Parkinson’s UK, the Parkinson Voice Project in the US and Parkinson’s NSW in Australia.
It launched a campaign featuring four videos showing people unable to move in everyday scenarios such as crossing the street, making a cup of tea and answering the front door.
The emotive messaging asks viewers to “Donate. Now. So their challenge can end.”
2. Parkinson Voice Project
Patients at the Parkinson Voice Project’s clinic in Texas, US, showed viewers the interactive and dynamic nature of their regular speech therapy classes, as they pause for a minute for the camera stunt.
3. Parkinson’s NSW
The Australian organisation took a different approach and focused on people with Parkinson’s tremors among those frozen in time.
4. Vlaamse Parkinson Liga
This challenge was an initiative by a group from Ghent, Belgium who are part of the Vlaamse Parkinson Liga (VPL), the Flemish Parkinson’s disease association. They wanted to highlight the fact that although Parkinson’s patients freeze due to stability problems, it’s also difficult to freeze on demand. The organisation’s president is Yves Meersman, who is also the lead chef behind the Parki’s Kookatelier project.
First it was ‘planking’, then came the ice bucket challenge, and now ‘mannequin challenge’ videos are sweeping the web – a viral internet video trend where people remain frozen in action like mannequins while a moving camera films them.
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Why is it harder to cross obstacles when you have Parkinson’s disease?
A team of researchers at São Paulo State University, Brazil, have offered insights on why people with Parkinson’s disease can find it more difficult to cross obstacles than those without the condition. As part of the study, 13 people with Parkinson’s disease and 11 controls stepped over an obstacle 15 times, and scientists measured the distance between the foot and the obstacles during the step. They found that step-length synergy – the ability of the musculoskeletal system to adapt movement when encountering an obstacle – was 53% lower in people with the condition. “There are patients in our exercise group who fall three or four times a week,” said Fabio Augusto Barbieri, one of the study authors. “It’s important to understand how these patients’ gait and locomotion adapt while crossing obstacles so that we can improve step-length synergy.”
This April, The World Parkinson Coalition is launching The Parkinson Tulip Project – a global collaborative photography campaign to raise awareness of the world’s fastest growing neurological disease. As part of the campaign, which is supported by Supernus Pharmaceuticals, members of the Parkinson’s community are invited to share a photo of themselves with tulips – the official symbol of Parkinson’s disease. The project will run until April 2022, and all images shared by the community will be displayed at the sixth World Parkinson Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Additionally, every photo submitted will be entered into The Parkinson Tulip Project raffle. The World Parkinson Coalition hopes that the project will “give a face and name to those impacted by Parkinson’s” and “inspire the community, reminding people touched by Parkinson’s disease that they are not alone”.
Looking after dental health with Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease symptoms and medications can cause dental health problems – including difficulty cleaning teeth and increased tooth decay. Now, a study from researchers in Brazil has offered dental care recommendations to help people living with the condition. Analysing data from 14 studies, the scientists highlighted people with Parkinson’s can have “reduced quality of oral health and hygiene”. Their advice included routine teeth-brushing, as well as regular trips to a dentist. They also suggested brushing teeth with both hands, as symptoms like tremor and rigidity could mean using one hand is more difficult. The researchers wrote: “Although oral diseases are largely preventable, they are among the most prevalent diseases globally, thus creating a public health problem. “Despite the relatively low level of evidence in studies on oral health among patients with Parkinson’s disease, the data retrieved for this systematic review allowed us to create a set of simple guidelines.”