VIDEO: People with Parkinson’s freeze for ‘mannequin challenge’
Author: Almaz OhenePublished: 5 January 2017
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Parkinson’s campaigners worldwide are taking up the ‘mannequin challenge’ – the latest social media trend to sweep the web – to show that ‘freezing’ is part of everyday life for many people with the condition
To share the reality of ‘freezing of gait’, major Parkinson’s organisations around the world have filmed their own versions of the popular social media trend, the #MannequinChallenge. Here are three of the most popular – from Parkinson’s UK, the Parkinson Voice Project in the US and Parkinson’s NSW in Australia.
It launched a campaign featuring four videos showing people unable to move in everyday scenarios such as crossing the street, making a cup of tea and answering the front door.
The emotive messaging asks viewers to “Donate. Now. So their challenge can end.”
2. Parkinson Voice Project
Patients at the Parkinson Voice Project’s clinic in Texas, US, showed viewers the interactive and dynamic nature of their regular speech therapy classes, as they pause for a minute for the camera stunt.
3. Parkinson’s NSW
The Australian organisation took a different approach and focused on people with Parkinson’s tremors among those frozen in time.
4. Vlaamse Parkinson Liga
This challenge was an initiative by a group from Ghent, Belgium who are part of the Vlaamse Parkinson Liga (VPL), the Flemish Parkinson’s disease association. They wanted to highlight the fact that although Parkinson’s patients freeze due to stability problems, it’s also difficult to freeze on demand. The organisation’s president is Yves Meersman, who is also the lead chef behind the Parki’s Kookatelier project.
First it was ‘planking’, then came the ice bucket challenge, and now ‘mannequin challenge’ videos are sweeping the web – a viral internet video trend where people remain frozen in action like mannequins while a moving camera films them.
New enzyme discovery could “put the brakes” on Parkinson’s
Researchers at the University of Dundee, UK, have discovered an enzyme that could reverse mutations in a gene commonly associated with the development of Parkinson’s. The enzyme, called PPM1H, has been found to naturally prevent the biological activity of LRKK2 – it is hoped this discovery could slowdown the progression of the disease. The researchers are now working with the university’s Drug Discovery Unit to develop compounds that could activate the newly discovered enzyme. Professor Dario Alessi, one of the lead researchers, said: “Parkinson’s is like a runaway train – at present we have no way of putting the brakes on to slow it down, let alone stop it. This new enzyme we have found acts as the brakes in the pathway that causes Parkinson’s in humans. “This finding opens the door for a new chemical approach to the search for Parkinson’s treatments.” Lead image credit: University of Dundee
A new study launched by English National Ballet and university King’s College London, UK, will assess the impact of ballet on Parkinson’s symptoms. Researchers hope that regular lessons – which include voice exercises and dance – will improve fluidity, gait and posture in people living with the condition. The study is part of a wider project, costing in the region of UK £2 million, researching how the arts impacts physical and mental health. Fleur Derbyshire-Fox, English National Ballet’s Engagement Director, said: “Since creating our Dance for Parkinson’s programme in 2010 we have seen first-hand the incredible effects dance can have on a person living with Parkinson’s. “We’re thrilled to be a part of this study, with the opportunity to embed the programme within secondary care, and in turn have a greater impact on the physical and emotional wellbeing of people living with Parkinson’s.”
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Parkinson’s trial awarded £250,000 by UK Medical Research Council
Researchers from UK university Imperial College London have been awarded UK £250,000 to trial surgical implants that could reduce the number of falls in patients with Parkinson’s. The funding has been awarded by the Medical Research Council – the body responsible for co-ordinating research in the UK. As part of the trial, the implants will alter nerve activity by sending a low-voltage current to different areas of the spinal cord in five patients living with Parkinson’s disease. Dr Yen Tai, from the Department of Brain Sciences at Imperial College London, said: “Frequent falls are a common and disabling problem in advanced Parkinson’s, and can lead to patient’s being housebound. “This grant will enable me to work in collaboration with the Brain and Vestibular Group at the College and the Trust, to trial a new treatment that could help improve outcomes for patients and how we deliver care.”