Clark shared the news on Twitter: “I’ve decided to donate
my brain to the Parkinson’s UK Brain Bank. I was so impressed with the research
work being carried out when I visited the facility with [Rory Cellan-Jones]”.
Clark has already raised thousands of pounds for
Parkinson’s UK, become a celebrity ‘Champion’ for the charity, and worked to
challenge stigma surrounding the condition.
He shared a video in which Cellan-Jones, a BBC technology correspondent who also has Parkinson’s, went behind the scenes of the Brain Bank at Imperial College London’s Hammersmith campus, in the UK. Cellan-Jones spoke to Professor Steve Gentleman in the dissection room, who explained that donated brain tissue is vital to research efforts. He concluded the visit by pledging his own brain.
Clark said: “The brain is the most precious thing we have.
It contains our loves, memories and our personality. Giving it to medical
research is the greatest gift I can offer. Imagine if your brain was the one
that unlocked a cure for this devastating neurological condition?”
He also highlighted that scientific research on brains was
“essential” to finding treatments for the condition.
In the UK, National Health Service organ donation is
considered distinct from brain donation – those wishing to pledge their brain
must submit separate forms to brain banks. Imperial College London is home to the
world’s only brain bank for Parkinson’s research and receives around 120
donations each year.
Fans and members of the Parkinson’s community shared their
admiration for Clark on Twitter, and contributed stories of how family members,
or they themselves, had also pledged their brains.
Twitter user Lisa was inspired by Clark and Cellan-Jones:
Twitter user, Kathryn Dainty, said that her parents had also decided to donate their brains:
While Twitter user Katie Hofman expressed appreciation for Clark as a presenter:
Charity Parkinson’s UK voiced its gratitude for Clark’s ongoing support:
Lead image credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
The Parkinson’s UK Brain Bank
The Parkinson’s UK Brain Bank is the only brain bank in the world dedicated to Parkinson’s research. Each brain is split into 250 samples which can then be used in scientific projects. This brain tissue contributes to scientists’ understanding of the condition and the development of new treatments. Many neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s, are unique to humans which means it can be difficult to conduct research on animal brains.
The organisation accepts brains from donors with or without Parkinson’s and plans to joint-fund a new digital brain bank, allowing scientists over the world to benefit from these pledged brains.
‘Which Way Up’: documentary following painter John McLean
UK screening of film about painter with Parkinson’s, John McLean
1 day ago
Has Covid-19 impacted access to Parkinson’s medication?
New research has found that the coronavirus pandemic has affected access to medication for people living with Parkinson’s disease. The sub-study used information from a survey conducted by the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society. The results from 346 participants showed that 22.8% of high-income and 88.9% of low-income countries’ respondents agreed that the coronavirus crisis had impacted people’s access to Parkinson’s medication. Some respondents reported increased disability, increased hospitalisation and increased mortality as factors. The majority of those who completed the survey were doctors. The researchers concluded: “Our results offer preliminary data that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected Parkinson’s disease patients’ access to regular medication. “Covid-19 has diverted resources away from chronic conditions towards the fight against Covid-19 in many countries. Resource-poor countries seem to be disproportionately affected compared to their affluent counterparts.”
Brazilian dance could improve mobility in people with Parkinson’s, study finds
Researchers at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil compared participants in a 12-week programme, inspired by samba and forró dances, with those in a walking exercise programme to measure improvement in their functional mobility and gait. The 18 participants had an average age of 68.6 and had all been diagnosed with Parkinson’s over a year ago. The results, published in journal BMC Neurology, found that both groups showed significant improvements in mobility and balance tests. Participants in the dance group showed increases in stride frequency at a self-chosen test speed and a reduced swing time (the amount of time the foot is off the floor) at a fast speed. The results indicated that dance was as “effective as walking in improving functional mobility”. The researchers wrote: “It is essential to find different activities that can offer benefits to individuals… so that they can engage in the…
#WomenAndParkinsons shortlisted for ‘Charity Content Campaign of the Year’
Parkinson’s Life’s #WomenAndParkinsons campaign – a series highlighting the unique experiences of the estimated three million women worldwide who live with the condition – has been shortlisted in the UK Content Awards 2020 in the ‘Not-for-Profit / Charity Content Campaign of the Year’ category. Since its launch in 2019 the #WomenAndParkinsons campaign has covered topics including: the impact of menstruation on medication; the difficulties surrounding pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding with Parkinson’s; the interaction between menopause, sex and Parkinson’s; how coronavirus is impacting the lives of women with the condition; and what’s behind the lack of focus on gender. Parkinson’s Life editor Simge Eva Dogan, said: “Our campaign has centered on voices that were previously unheard and started much-needed discussions about the specific needs and experiences of women who are living with Parkinson’s. Being recognised by this award will help us to build on the success of the campaign so far and continue…