Parkinson’s Awareness Week

Posted on: 11 April 2011 by Rhian Mainwaring

Calling all silver surfers; help find early indicators of Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's Join UsIn conjunction with Parkinson’s Awareness week, Parkinson's UK is looking for 1000 people to take part in an online survey to help researchers pinpoint the early indicators of the disease.

Launching on the 11th April, this year long project is the first of its kind and is lead by Dr Alastair Noyce of Queen Mary, Univeristy of London. In collaboration with University College London and funded by an innovation grant of £35,000 from Parkinson's UK, the survey will ask participants to take three simple online surveys.

Ongoing research suggests that problems such as anxiety, depression, constipation, sleep and smell disorders may occur up to 20 years before the physical movement problems of the disease. The online questionnaire will collect information on medical and lifestyle factors that influence the risk of Parkinson’s, a scratch and sniff test as well as simple arm dexterity and speed of movement tests. 

This survey isn’t about discovering whether you personally have or are at risk of developing Parkinson’s but helping researchers pinpoint the early signals of the disease, enabling diagnosis to much faster in the future. Dr Alistair Noyce adds, “This is a pilot study, and while we may suspect a small number of those who do the tests to be at increased risk, we won’t know yet how accurate our tests will be. We’ll contact 300 people who have taken part in the research by email or telephone to collect extra information or arrange to visit them. However, this does not necessarily mean that these people are at higher risk and we’ll be contacting people with and without the symptoms we want to study.”

“This is a pilot study and we hope that what we learn from this will lead to larger studies and eventually speedier diagnosis” says Dr Noyce. So if you’re a silver surfer (between 60-80 years old) and fancy being on the front line of research against Parkinson’s disease, where you could help Parkinson’s UK and University College London evaluate the risk of Parkinson's with maximum accuracy, head to their website (Parkinson’s UK) and visit the Predictpd (Predictpd) page to learn more.

Don’t forget that it’s Parkinson’s awareness week, so if you can’t take part in the survey there’s plenty of other things you can do. Running from the 11th -17th of April the awareness week aims to get as many people as possible, whether they have a connection to Parkinson’s or not, to join in their mission to find a cure and improve the lives for those affected by the disease. Go to Parkinson’s Awareness Week to find out more.

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