Dominic Graham, Parkinson’s Europe operations director, said: “We all have the same goal: for The Spark logo to, over time, help 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.”
Study finds just six minutes of daily exercise might delay onset of Parkinson’s disease
Regular exercise is a common therapeutic strategy for people with Parkinson’s. Now, a study from New Zealand has suggested that daily physical activity might even delay the onset of this condition. Published in ‘The Physiological Society’, the study focused on a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) – which has previously been shown to boost cognitive performance. The researchers assessed the impact of fasting and physical activity on BDNF production in 12 people aged 18 to 56. The tests involved fasting and completing exercises of varying intensity, such as cycling for six minutes, as well as combinations of both fasting and physical activity. The results showed that brief, intense exercise was the best option for increasing the production of BDNF – with the protein increasing by a factor of four to five times compared to light exercise or fasting. Because BDNF can protect the brain from cognitive decline, the findings could…
Machine learning may help predict risk of freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease
Difficulty taking steps forward, often referred to as the freezing of gait (FOG), is a common symptom experienced by people with Parkinson’s and one that can be difficult to predict. China-based researchers suggest that machine learning – artificial intelligence (AI) that uses algorithms to analyse data – could help predict the risk of freezing of gait developing in the early stages of the condition. Their study, published in ‘npj Parkinson’s Disease’, gave laboratory and clinical data to a machine learning model brain. This information was collected from 158 adults with untreated early-stage Parkinson’s and 73 healthy adults over a five-year period. They found that the risk of FOG could be predicted with an accuracy rate of up to 78%. The study authors suggested that machine learning methods “have the potential to help predict future FOG in patients with early Parkinson’s at an individual level”.
Long-term exposure to air pollution could impact Parkinson’s disease mortality risk
New research has suggested that long-term exposure to air pollutants could increase the risk of death from Parkinson’s. A team of European researchers conducted the study, published in the journal ‘Environment International’, as part of the Effects of Low-Level Air Pollution: A Study in Europe (ELAPSE) project – a Europe-wide initiative looking at the effects of low air pollution levels on people’s health. The researchers used ELAPSE’s datasets to analyse figures for over 200,000 adults from six European countries. They also looked at air pollution models, estimating the concentrations of air pollutants in these countries to explore the link between pollution exposure and deaths from Parkinson’s. The results suggest that long-term exposure to PM2.5 particles at high levels was associated with a 25% higher risk of death from the condition, and the authors of the study added that the research “adds strong evidence in support of an association between air…