Parkinson’s in the news: October

Global update

Author: Roisin McCormackPublished: 31 October 2019

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From UK comedian Paul Sinha giving his first interview since diagnosis, to a US initiative aiming to make Parkinson’s research more diverse – we’ve rounded up the top Parkinson’s stories from around the world this month

FIRE-UP PD Initiative Seeks to Increase Inclusivity in Parkinson’s Research

The Michael J Fox Foundation (MJFF), US, and Massachusetts General Hospital, US, are launching an initiative to increase diversity within Parkinson’s disease research. ‘Fostering Inclusivity in Research Engagement for Underrepresented Populations in Parkinson’s Disease’ (FIRE-UP PD) will see educational outreach programmes in several locations around the US reach out to Haitian, Hispanic and African American communities to increase awareness of the condition and encourage research participation.

“Parkinson’s research has made significant strides toward better diagnostics and new treatments in past decades, but most research has included only a subset of patients with a common European ancestry”, explained Sohini Chowdhury, MJFF deputy CEO.

Paul Sinha will walk away from The Chase if Parkinson’s impacts his knowledge

Paul Sinha, comedian and professional quizzer on popular UK TV gameshow ‘The Chase’, has opened up about Parkinson’s in his first TV interview since his diagnosis in May.

Talking to TV breakfast host Lorraine Kelly, Sinha revealed that he would walk away from his role on ‘The Chase’ if Parkinson’s started to impact on his knowledge – and that his family’s battles with health problems had inspired him to stay positive. He described his diagnosis as a “shock”, added that since starting a course of medication he was just trying to “get on with life” – as well as raise awareness about the condition.

Boston Scientific announces CE mark approval of the Vercise Neural Navigator 3 Programming Software

US medical manufacturer Boston Scientific has had a Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) software programme approved with a CE Mark – a certificate indicating its conformity with health, safety and environmental standards in the European Economic Area.

The Vercise Neural Navigator 3 programming software is the first system of its kind to personalise patients DBS procedures by delivering targeted electrical stimulation into the brain, reducing patient time in surgery and producing more accurate results.

Professor Jens Volkmann, director and chairman of the Department of Neurology at the University Hospital of Wurzburg, Germany, said: “We now have the ability to visualize lead placement in the patient to see how stimulation settingswork in real time. This empowers clinicians to optimize therapy in a more efficient manner”.

Former ‘M*A*S*H’ star Alan Alda explains how he’s coping with Parkinson’s diagnosis

Former ‘M*A*S*H’ star Alan Alda appeared on US TV show ‘Today’ and shared how he has been managing his Parkinson’s since diagnosis in 2014. Describing himself as shaky but “good”, the actor shed light on how reliance on regular exercise makes him “feel like a kid” – but slows the progression of the condition.

Parkinson’s Foundation Launches National Program for People Newly Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Foundation has launched the first national campaign geared towards improving the experiences of people newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Organisers hope to connect with the 60,000 people who are diagnosed in the US each year – and provide them with the right information and resources to manage the condition from the outset.

Based on key findings from a survey the foundation conducted, the campaign will include educational programmes, a ‘newly diagnosed kit’ available for download and topical podcasts.

Health Check: Smart glove helps patients living with Parkinson’s disease

A professor at the University of Rhode Island, US, has been awarded US $250,000 to develop a ‘smart glove’ which helps doctors treat patients with Parkinson’s, due to the product’s potential for commercial success.

The glove, which collects data based on the movements of the wearer while at home, will help doctors make more informed decision about the exercises Parkinson’s patients should perform –and whether their medication needs tweaking.

Nicholas Constant, a research assistant working on the project, said: “Basically, the idea here is we want to try and help the neurologists understand how the patient’s doing when they’re not in the clinic”.

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Parkinson’s in the news: September

Parkinson’s in the news: August

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