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Can we end Parkinson's disease?

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

I recently finished reading "A Prescription for Action: Ending Parkinson's Disease" by Dorsey, Sherer, Okun and Bloem and wanted to share my thoughts with the hope of inspiring those who live with the disease, or those who care for someone living with it.

I had no idea that Parkinson's disease is the fastest growing neurological disorder in the world. Over the past twenty five years, the number of people with the condition has jumped from 2 million to over 6 million.

Currently, in the UK, 145, 000 people are living with Parkinson's disease - but the book also highlights how underdiagnosed this condition is, and the potential ramifications for our healthcare system.

Ending Parkinson's Disease is an accessible and informative book that proposes strategies for prevention, policy reform and better care and treatment for patients.

I bought the book because a friend of mine was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's and it got me thinking: are there ways of preventing or better treating this condition?

It turns out that there are. The book is so well written and researched. These four leading experts take you on a journey, starting with the history of Parkinson's disease and diagnosis. They then go on to discuss prevention, advocating, care and treatment. The book ends on a positive note providing a hopeful prescription for action, that includes nutritional and lifestyle interventions that have proved to be beneficial.

I really recommend this book for anyone who is living with Parkinson's, or for those who care for someone with the condition. It brings a sense of hope and creates a framework for understanding what causes it, and how it can be better treated.

The authors are bold in suggesting policy reforms, highlighting the roles of pesticides and environmental pollutants in the development of the disease.

For those who campaign for better health outcomes, this is a great book to understand how powerful and necessary it is to reform policies. The authors compare the need for reform around Parkinson's treatment and care to the fights against polio, HIV and breast cancer.

As a society, we have a greater awareness of polio, HIV and breast cancer. We wear ribbons to represent the cause; we run marathons to raise money and we take part in festivals and parades to celebrate our progress.

Humans have nearly eradicated polio. The force of AIDS activists in the 1980s meant that today, people who are HIV-positive have access to effective therapies. Breast cancer was hardly discussed fifty years ago - today, heightened awareness and support mean that there are millions spent on breast cancer research, with the five-year-survival rate increasing to 90%.

In a similar way, we have to change the way we think about Parkinson's disease. We have to refuse to accept that this disease is inevitable. As the authors state, we must form a PACT to end Parkinson's: Prevent the disease; Advocate for policies and resources; Care for all affected and Treat the condition with new and more effective therapies.

This book is practical and inspiring. Read it. Perhaps you will find a way to make a difference to someone's life.

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