The 8th Parkinson’s ‘Olympics’ targets key exercise habits
Health & Fitness
Author: Leszek DobrowolskiPublished: 20 August 2015
Prep: Cook: Serves:
The Parkinsoniada sports games saw hundreds of people with Parkinson’s pick up the baton and get exercising, reports Leszek Dobrowolski, president of Warsaw Regional Association of People with Parkinson’s Disease
The eighth edition of the Parkinsoniada took place in Czech Republic from 31 July to 2 August and attracted around 250 people with Parkinson’s – along with some affected by multiple sclerosis – to take part in the sports games.
Male and female players from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria and Poland competed across 10 events, including table tennis, throwing, shots on goal (hockey or soccer), curling and bowling. Age is no obstacle at Parkinsoniada; one of the oldest participants was a Slovak man (87) and a Czech woman (80). In contrast, the youngest were in their 40s.
The opening ceremony began on the Friday in the main square in Hodonin, a town located very close to Brno, with speeches from Parkinsoniada founder, Jan Škrkal, and the mayor of Hodonin, Milana Grauové.
Let the games begin!
Parkinsoniada consists of 10 events:
throw in the basket
shot on goal with soccer ball
shot on goal with hockey stick
petang (pétanque- boccia)
shooting with digital shooting gun
shooting with blowpipe
Although I’ve attended the Parkinsoniada before, the joy and energy that the patients – often despite severe disability – put into the competition made a great impression again. Their motivation to give their all from start to finish, trying to understand others despite the language barriers, while encouraging and comforting each other was lovely to see. Interestingly, those who looked less affected and more fit outwardly weren’t always the most successful. As usually the games were well organised, with the help of volunteers, and it culminated in the medal ceremony.
Everyone’s a winner
The greatest admiration is reserved for the perserance of all the participants in overcoming their condition. Particularly impressive was the fact that they attented this whole day event in the hot summer heat, and after a long time spent travelling the day before to reach Hodonin.
In between the events, there was always time for entertainment in the form of concerts by a female folk choir from Dubňany and the men’s choir from Dúbrava, of course, accompanied by dancing. The breaks are also an opportunity to meet and make contacts with patients, carers from other countries.
Every games is supported by an exhibition to raise awareness of the disease. This year it told the individual stories of those diagnosed at a young age.
This international meeting of people with Parkinson’s disease was founded by Jan Škrkal, president of Parkinson Slovácko o.s., who has lived with Parkinson’s for more than 10 years. The event’s principle aim is to support the will to overcome obstacles, to restore confidence in one’s own abilities and to develop the habit of regular exercise.
Apple says new CareKit platform will ‘empower’ Parkinson’s patients
Open-source platform to transform the way we think about health
6 days ago
Researchers have finally identified brain cells linked to Parkinson’s disease
For decades, scientists have known that Parkinson’s is associated with the death of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. Now, researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, US, have discovered the specific subtype of brain cells that die in Parkinson’s disease. Using a technique called single-cell RNA signalling, which enables the individual analysis of cells within a tissue for activity and protein production, researchers identified 10 subtypes of dopamine-producing cells within the donated brains of people who died from causes unrelated to Parkinson’s. The team carried out the same investigation on people who had died with Parkinson’s or a condition with similar symptoms called Lewy body dementia. They discovered that only one subtype of the cells had reduced in number – which suggests many of these cells had died while the people were living. It is hoped that the findings could lead to better understanding of Parkinson’s causes and…
Tiny DBS implant shows potential to advance Parkinson’s disease treatment
In an innovative trial by North Bristol NHS Trust, UK, surgeons have succeeded in implanting a tiny deep brain stimulation (DBS) device into a person’s skull. Their aim? To address symptoms of Parkinson’s. Designed with a tiny battery system that is inserted into the skull, the DBS device delivers electric impulses to targeted areas of the brain through electric probes. In doing so, it works to address abnormal brain cell activity associated with Parkinson’s – and may help to ease symptoms. One of around 25 patients selected for the year-long trial has described the device’s impact as “amazing”. Commenting on the results of the trial so far, consultant neurologist Dr Alan Whone of North Bristol NHS Trust said: “We are hopeful that if these findings hold up, we will have a significant technical advance by which to improve Parkinson’s care across the world.”
Could a specialised smartwatch support people with Parkinson’s disease?
A specialised smartwatch, which could help those living with Parkinson’s to better manage their condition, will be rolled out to thousands of people in England. The Parkinson’s Kinetigraph, developed by the National Health Service (NHS) in Plymouth and the University of Plymouth, UK, contains sensors designed to monitor the wearer’s activity and buzz with medication reminders. Data collected from the watch – which detects excessive movement, immobility and sleep disturbances – is shared with healthcare providers, allowing for improvements to physiotherapy and prescriptions based on patient needs. Commenting on the smartwatch’s launch, NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “Not only is it better for these people living with Parkinson’s, but it is also more efficient for the NHS, freeing up space and time in hospitals for our hard-working staff.” UK health secretary Sajid Javid, meanwhile, described the Kinetigraph as a “fantastic example of how technology is driving cutting-edge innovation…