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Celebrating 200 years of Progress in Parkinson’s Disease

Posted by
Elisabeth Dohin, Neurology Patient Value Unit
Today marks the beginning of a series of events and activities celebrating the life and achievements of James Parkinson, an English physician and chemist, born in 1755.

In 1817 his pioneering work ‘An Essay on the Shaking Palsy’, established the foundations for improved knowledge, study and understanding about the collection of symptoms - tremors, rigidity and slowness of movement - which, after his death, and in recognition of his contribution, became known as ‘Parkinson’s Disease’.

In the 200 years since first publication of his Essay, the global Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder community has made some real progress in how we diagnose and treat the symptoms of this condition.

In the 1960’s, researchers identified chemical differences in the brains of people with Parkinson’s which led to the development of levodopa - one of the first medicines developed to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s. Whilst subsequent clinical and therapeutic advances still only treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, rather than the underlying cause, many individuals, organisations and companies around the world are united in a search for a future cure.

Alongside improvements in scientific understanding, we have built an impressive understanding of how the condition can affect and impact an individual’s experience. We now know, for example, that commonly used clinical definitions of Parkinson’s Disease over-simplify a patient’s ‘lived’ experience, and that to truly appreciate the challenges of living with the condition, complex physical, mental, social and emotional experiences must be taken into account. We also better understand that, by living with and experiencing their symptoms first hand, people with Parkinson’s themselves become experts in managing  their condition, and have a significant role to play in helping to progress knowledge and understanding.

At UCB, we are committed to identifying and addressing the unmet needs of people living with Parkinson's disease to enable them to have a more engaged life every day.
Whether by ensuring access to our existing Parkinson’s Disease medicines today, partnering with technology experts to explore the role of wearable technologies in supporting people with Parkinson’s tomorrow, or through continued scientific research towards discovering the next generation of medicines for Parkinson’s disease, everything we do in this field starts with a simple question: “How will this create value for people living with Parkinson’s Disease?”.

We are very proud to be one of the sponsors of the educational workshop hosted by the International Parkinson and Movement Disorders Society to mark this 200 year celebration.

In supporting neurologists, geriatricians, specialist nurses, neurology fellows and students, to better understand the complexity of diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s Disease, we hope the workshop will ultimately help people living with the condition to develop strategies to manage their daily activities and to embrace their situation with optimism.

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