Parkinson’s in the news: September

Global update

Author: Simge Eva DoganPublished: 26 September 2019

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From Michael J Fox winning the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Courage to a global neuroscience initiative calling for more diverse data – we look at the top Parkinson’s news stories from around the world in September 2019

Michael J Fox honoured with ‘Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Courage’

Parkinson’s advocate and actor Michael J Fox has been awarded the 2019 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Courage. The event is an annual fundraiser for the late humanitarian and boxer’s Muhammad Ali Centre – and recognises individuals creating positive change in the world.

Accepting the award through a video message, Fox said: “When I revealed my diagnosis to the world, Muhammad called me. His fearlessness was contagious. He showed me that we are part of something bigger. And he inspired me to embrace the cause and do more.”

How ‘exergaming’ can help people with Parkinson’s

Researchers at the Radboud University Medical Centre in the Netherlands have found that motivation exercise apps can play a key role in helping to reduce Parkinson’s symptoms.

As part of the Park-in-Shape study – which appears in medical journal ‘The Lancet Neurology’ – group participants worked on stationary exercise bikes with screens and games designed to rouse their enthusiasm. Results showed that exercise bikes significantly improved motor ability in riders.

Professor Bas Bloem, lead researcher of the study, said: “This new ‘exergaming’ approach that we have developed is very suitable to achieve long-term improvements in exercise behaviour for patients with a range of other disorders that could also benefit from regular exercise.”

Study finds high rate of sleep disorders In Ethiopia Parkinson’s patients

A study in Ethiopia has found evidence to suggest there is a high prevalence of sleep problems in people living with Parkinson’s.

The study – which worked with 155 people with the condition – showed that the group exhibited one of the highest rates of excessive daytime sleepiness in the world.

The researchers concluded that “further investigation into whether poverty or race explains this finding is needed” before determining what causes the link and how it can be treated.

Bringing together the brains of the world

A new global neuroscience initiative, Uncovering Neurodegenerative Insights Through Ethnic Diversity (UNITED), is aiming to collect more diverse data to better understand neurogenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s.

Based in the Netherlands, the initiative has 18 partners around the world and is inviting participation from underrepresented communities.

Hieab Adams, leader of UNITED, said: “We think it’s extremely important to have an active role in encouraging more diverse studies, so that findings will be generalisable and benefit all individuals, irrespective of their ethnic background.”

Can old drugs perform new tricks?

Researchers at University College London, UK, have found that exenatide, a drug used to treat diabetes, may have the potential to treat Parkinson’s.

As part of the study, two groups of people with Parkinson’s injected themselves once a week over the course of a year – with one group using exenatide and the other using a placebo. The individuals using exenatide performed better in motor tests than those in the placebo group.

In this four-minute video, professor Tom Foltynie, lead author of the study, explains the study and its key findings:

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