Dominic Graham, EPDA operations director, said: “We all have the same goal: for The Spark logo to, over time, help the Parkinson’s community speak with one voice on World Parkinson’s Day – thereby amplifying our own individual voices, and creating a bigger impact globally year after year.”
Developed with input from people in the international Parkinson’s community, the logo’s design is inspired by dopamine – the neurotransmitter associated with the condition. It can be personalised to suit individual wants, with dozens of pre-made graphics and translated text assets available – along with a guide designed to help people get creative.
The collective, which also includes the Davis Phinney Foundation and the Brian Grant Foundation, hopes that by encouraging organisations and individuals to use the logo on their promotional materials this World Parkinson’s Day, The Spark will lead to more coordinated action for Parkinson’s awareness.
“The ‘who’s who’ of Parkinson’s have combined forces behind a new symbol to keep the condition front of mind for everyone,” says Larry Gifford, co-founder of the PD Avengers, a global advocacy group led by people with the condition. “The Spark is intended to electrify a powerful movement, and change how all of us think about Parkinson’s.”
“People with Parkinson’s and their families cannot wait for change to happen to them,” adds Graham. “We need to create that change ourselves, and we hope this logo will be an important step in that direction.”
Is there a link between Parkinson’s disease and blood vessel dysfunction?
Scientists in Slovakia have investigated the link between blood vessel dysfunction and Parkinson’s – and found that dopamine agonists may have an impact. The team studied the function of the endothelium – a membrane which lines the heart and blood vessels and helps control blood fluidity – in 41 people with the condition and 41 people without. Endothelial function was then measured through a parameter that assessed how easily blood could flow through the vessels. The results showed that while more people with Parkinson’s had endothelial dysfunction compared to those without, the difference did not reach statistical significance. However, the researchers noted that the findings suggested “an association between smoking, dopamine agonists, and impaired endothelial function” in those with the condition. Outlining the study’s limitations, the team noted that more research is needed to explore this potential link.
New swab test may help with Parkinson’s disease diagnosis
Researchers at the University of Manchester, UK, have drawn on one woman’s sense of smell to develop a swab test that may be used to detect Parkinson’s. The scientists used the test to analyse sebum (a type of oily substance on the skin) in 79 people with Parkinson’s and a control group of 71 healthy individuals. The team identified more than 4,000 different compounds in the participant samples – including 500 that were unique to those living with the condition. The test was developed with the help of Joy Milne from Perth, Scotland, whose unique sense of smell meant that she noticed a change in her late husband Les’s odour twelve years before he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Speaking to the BBC, Professor Perdita Barran, who led the research, described the test as potentially “transformative” – and said that the team hopes to roll the test out to people in…
Could a national biobank help inform the future of Parkinson’s disease treatment in Australia?
A biobank is a collection of biological samples and data designed to be used for research. Now, researchers in Australia are working to build a biobank for Parkinson’s. As part of the project, the scientists are conducting scans of people that have been injected with fluorodopa – a substance that highlights dopamine in the brain. Participants include people living with Parkinson’s and a control group of people without the condition. The resulting database of scans will be used to create a national biobank that aims to inform treatment and research into the condition. Commenting on the study, Olivia Nasser – executive director at the Hospital Research Foundation, which is helping to fund the research – said, “Once we build up the biobank of scans, it can actually be used as an effective way to treat Parkinson’s.” The researchers encourage people with and without Parkinson’s to take part in the trial.