The main news this month is that the launch of the Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy moves ever closer. Recruitment of key personnel and specialist therapists is ongoing and a Spring launch event has been announced. This is excellent news and provides an even greater incentive for us to make our planned Spring fundraising walk exceed our successful inaugural event that we held last October. In addition to news about the Centre, this month’s newsletter also includes a piece on some recent research and alternative therapies that may be of interest.
The Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy
The latest news on the Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy is that a launch event for the Canterbury centre is planned forApril 11th.
That this unique centre is launching mere months after it was little more than a concept is testament to the hard work and dedication of those involved and should provide a huge boost to anyone whose life is touched by Parkinson’s.Although the Parkinson’s centre has not yet been launched there is no reason not to utilise the many, excellent facilities that already exist. Anyone with Parkinson’s can already access the Kent MS Therapy Centre where the Parkinson’s centre will be co-located. They can book-in to receive a range of therapies geared towards neurological conditions. There are already some people with Parkinson’s who are doing just this and enjoying the therapies on offer. Anyone wishing to do so can contact the KMSTC: Contact us- Kent MS Therapy Centre (kentmstc.org.uk)
A timetable of Parkinson’s specific therapies, to be delivered by therapists with experience ofworking with people with Parkinson’s and tailored towards the condition, is currently beingprepared.
Recruitment of these therapists and also the Parkinson’s specialist clinician who willproduce an individual care plan for each person and coordinate their care is ongoing.
Fundraising Walk update
Following our highly successful fundraising walk for the Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy last October (that raised a total of £2,126).
it is planned to hold a further walk on the Sunday following the Centre’s planned launchevent with a provisional route from Deal to St Margaret’s Bay with refreshment stops along the way.The excellent new about the Centre’s launch event on April 11th is very timely and we will, hopefully, raise even more for the Centre.
Other therapies / research
There has been quite a lot of news recently about various alternative therapies and research results since our last newsletter (which is, in itself, good news) so we have decided to summarise some of those we found most interesting, below. We have just included these for interest and they are not, in any way, recommendations.
“....it comes as quite a surprise that a shop-bought cough medicine, found in households across Europe, is under the spotlight as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s.” Cure Parkinson’s
Following a limited phase 2 trial of Amboxol in 2017/18 and a review of the data by ProfessorAnthony Schapira’s team at University College London, the UK charity Cure Parkinson’s is providing funding (alongside other partners) for a much larger phase 3 trial of Ambroxol as apossible therapy to slow the progression of Parkinson’s. Since many potential therapies never make it to phase 3 trials that are usually expensive to run, Cure Parkinson’s must have seensome promise to help fund this trial.
More good vibrations
“Scientists find mechanical stimulation could be used to prevent falls and strengthen muscles”
A recent study at Aston University has shown that vibrations can benefit muscle control and balance. In this study the subjects stood on platforms,similar to vibrating plates found in gyms, which caused leg muscle contractions. The researchers stimulated their calves and recorded four one-minute trials of undisturbed balance to take a baseline measure and compared the readings to measurements taken after the stimulation. After conducting the experiment, they found that their balance seemed to have improved. Although the research subjects were younger, healthy people the researchers believe that the same approach is applicable to older people and could help reduce falls and resulting injuries.
“Table Tennis England is launching a grant funding initiative to support clubs and community groups to deliver table tennis sessions for people living with Parkinson’s.” Jan 31st 2023.
Playing table tennis as a therapy for Parkinson’s has seen a huge growth in the USA and elsewhere with a reported 200 groups having been set up around the world by the leading organisation. One of our friends in the US provided the following link to a CBS news item, ping pong therapy on one of these groups in New Jersey and the benefits experienced by the participants. Ping pong therapy participants find that it helps improve movement, balance and mood, they are thought to benefit from the rhythmic movement and the hand eye coordination that are inherent to the game as well as the well established benefits of exercise. There are already clubs and groups set up to include Parkinson’s players in parts of the UK and the benefits of table tennis for people with Parkinson’ in England is now also being recognisedby the national organisation Table Tennis England and Parkinson’s UK.
One activity that may be possible for people who would find table tennis too physically challenging, but that will still exercise a certain amount of hand/eye coordination and dexterity, is video/computer gaming.
“ Playing computer-based physical therapy games can help people with Parkinson’s disease improve their gait and balance, according to a new pilot study led by the UCSF School ofNursing and Red Hill Studios, a California gaming software developer.”
That’s a bold claim from University of California at San Francisco and it has to be considered that Red Hill Studios have a commercial interest in this and are promoting a range of specifically designed games. Nevertheless, other studies appear to be broadly supportive of gaming in general and there don’t appear to be any obvious drawbacks to this activity, apart from the cost of the games consoles/software.