The hope for patients in the future
Q: What can we hope for in the next two years, 20 years and 200 years?
Paul (APDA): So in two years, it’s about raising awareness and providing resources for those impacted by the disease. The keys are access to care for the underserved, and ensuring the best care possible for everybody. APDA works very hard to expand our reach presence across the county. In two years, we hope that we reach many more people and are helping them learn how to live a better life.
In 20 years, I would expect and hope that we finally understand what causes Parkinson’s disease and have identified ways to stop the progression of the disease.
In 200 years, I’d hope there would be no such thing as Parkinson’s – that it would be one of those ancient words that nobody remembers. Especially since now, 200 years after Dr. Parkinson published the 'Essay on the Shaking Palsy,' we don’t have a cure.
Pearl (PF): We’re really excited about the future because we’re finding there’s so much people can do to live well with Parkinson’s today. The research on the benefits of exercise is quite staggering. There are things people can do today to slow down the progression of symptoms. Exercising at least two hours a week is one way to provide neuroprotective benefits to people with Parkinson’s. Everyone’s got a Fitbit or smart phone; I think you’ll hear more about wearable technology in the future. Right now we’re engaging in a lot of telemedicine studies so that eventually anyone with an internet connection could talk with a virtual specialist.
In June, we are celebrating the 200th anniversary of James Parkinson’s essay, inviting researchers to come talk about where we are now and where we hope to be. I think we’ll be able to come out of that conference with clear insights into the future.
Kahl (BGF): In two years from now, I would hope that the research around nutrition comes as far as the research on exercise is now. I tell people that if you had a friend with heart disease and they said “nobody talked to me about diet,” you would think it’s not very good care. I would like to see everybody aligned to what a good sound diet looks like for people with Parkinson’s disease, just like they do with heart disease.
Twenty years from now I think we’ll have really good transformative treatments that are helping people live their lives every day. And in 20 years, hopefully we also have unity in the community … so that society at large will understand what Parkinson’s is and will be more understanding of the condition.
In 200 years I hope we’re not even talking about Parkinson’s because there’s a cure.
Uniting for Parkinson’s right now
Q: What is #UniteforParkinsons and how are you participating?
Graham (EPDA): 2017 marks 200 years of Parkinson’s disease We started thinking a year ago about how we can raise awareness in this time. There are so many challenges in the Parkinson’s disease world, so many ways to tackle it, that we had to ask ‘what do we do first?’ We decided to keep things simple but effective. For us, social media is the best way to do that. We aim to raise more awareness about Parkinson’s in one day – April 11 – than has ever happened before and also establish World Parkinson’s Day as a truly global day with #UniteforParkinsons.
Paul (APDA): For APDA, every day is Parkinson’s awareness day. Everyone is invested in raising awareness in April, especially around World Parkinson’s Day, but every day of the year we focus on raising awareness and reaching out to serve people with Parkinson’s disease. #UniteforParkinson’s is a terrific program. APDA is also excited to be kicking off our own new campaign on April 11.
Pearl (PF): Our organization is going to be active throughout World Parkinson’s Day on Facebook and Twitter and look forward to interacting with others in the Parkinson’s community. We’ll also share “My PD Story” from our website, which is videos of people who live well with the disease and encourage others to share their story throughout Parkinson’s Awareness Month.
Kahl (BGF): We’ll be sharing content on our Brian Grant Foundation social media network. We’re doing a 10-day challenge leading up to World Parkinson’s Day with a series of activities every day encouraging people to exercise, eat fruits and vegetables and hang out with friends – a broad range of things that make people living with Parkinson’s feel better. On World Parkinson’s Day we’ll celebrate people who participated in the challenge, highlight people living with the disease and engage with the #UniteforParkinsons content.
Along with our partners, AbbVie is committed to Parkinson's disease education to raise awareness about the condition, and to furthering research that seeks to improve the lives of those living with and impacted by this disease.