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How many people in UK have Parkinson’s? Latest studies indicate that the number of people living with Parkinson’s is around 145,000, with 50 people being diagnosed every day. More men than women have Parkinson’s. By 2025 the number may rise to 168,000. The Society’s Chief Executive Steve Ford says “We’ve understood for some time that the number of people living with Parkinson’s is on the rise. The new ways of working we’ve brought in over the past couple of years have put us in a stronger position to reach greater numbers of people and make
changes happen more quickly. What these figures will help us do now is talk with more urgency about the scale of the issue. The more people affected, the more care service providers, policy makers and drug companies will need to take notice – and action. By the end of 2018 we’ll have a clearer picture of what’s working well and where bigger improvements are needed. Next year we can put the right plans in place for 2020 and beyond to bring us closer to the day we can say ‘people used to have Parkinson’s’”.

Exercise and Parkinson's

Physiotherapists and exercise professionals have helped to create the latest resources on exercise and Parkinson’s. As Parkinson’s affects everyone differently, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to exercise.**
Parkinson’s UK has produced better information to help people find physical activity that suits them.
Advice is in three categories for different stages of Parkinson’s:
           Newly diagnosed or mild symptoms
           Symptoms that are progressing
           More complex symptoms
Each has its own page on the website and an animation to help explain it.There is also a framework for health professionals (such as GPs, Parkinson’s nurses, physiotherapists).
Visit the website: parkinsons.org.uk/information-and-support/exercise
[**That is why in this Branch we provide four different styles. Diary Dates Editor]

Dr Beate Ritz

Dr Beate Ritz is Professor of Epidemiology at University of California Los Angeles and is particularly interested in the way genetic factors are affected by environmental factors. She said that even the smallest differences in genetic factors can change how an individual reacts to the environment around them. The more common environmental agents are food, medications, mould, pesticides and air pollutants. No previous generation has had to face so much pollution of soil, air and water. Almost all diseases are the result of GeneXEnvironment interactions. Pesticides and air pollutants are known to impact on neurodegenerative diseases and cancers. One study in Southern California Central Valley showed that the combination of the fungicide ‘maneb’ and herbicide ‘paraquat’ can increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s by 75% in comparison to people who had no contact with them. Agriculture and chemical industries are slow to adopt changes in USA. Parkinson’s is extremely complex and we do not yet properly understand it.
[Paraquat is banned in all EU countries, used under licence in USA and is uncontrolled in many Asian countries Editor].

Dr Roger Barker

Dr Roger Barker (who is known to many of us) is Professor of Clinical Neuroscience at Cambridge University, Consultant Neurologist at Addenbrooke’s, guest Professor at Lund University, Sweden and a Principal Investigator in MRC-Welcome Trust Stem Cell Institute in Cambridge. For the past 25 years he has been investigating the various forms of Parkinson’s and Huntington’s Diseases. “Stem cells are cells that have both the capacity to divide, and give rise to differentiated cell types. One example is embryonic stem cells which are found in the newly fertilized egg which give rise to all the different kinds of cells we have in our body. The main aim of my research group is to better define the different types of Parkinson’s Disease. From there we try to understand why they happen and how we can best treat each sub-type – including with new therapies such as dopamine cell transplants. We use stem cells in two ways: (l) as a source of cells which then we can turn into dopamine cells to graft back into the brain and (ll) to make dopamine nerve cells to try to understand what goes wrong in those cells in Parkinson’s. This opens the possibility that we can test various drugs on these cells to see if we can slow down or alter aspects of the disease process.”



 

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