On 30th October 2017, I attended a function at Number 10 Downing Street to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Dr Parkinson’s 1817 Essay on the Shaking Palsy. The Essay saw him become the first person to describe ‘paralysis agitans’, a condition that would later be renamed Parkinson’s disease by French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot.
Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition. This means that it causes problems in the brain and gets worse over time. There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, but there are lots of different treatments, therapies and support available to help manage the condition.
Parkinson’s UK provides expert information and support for people with the condition. The Charity also supports research into Parkinson’s and campaigns for better treatment of the disease.
The event was hosted by Prime Minister, Theresa May who gave an excellent speech about the need to improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s disease and most importantly the need to find a cure.
Steve Ford, Parkinson’s UK Chief Executive, explained the current research programmes into Parkinson’s and the Charity’s funding of these studies, which is carried out by setting up and investing in small companies. This gives Parkinson’s UK greater control over its research investments. The Charity aims to do exactly the same work as a biotech company – creating and testing new treatments for Parkinson’s. A biotech is a company that uses the latest technology and expertise taking the best science discoveries and developing new medical treatments, but instead of doing it for profit, the Charity is doing it for people affected by Parkinson’s.
This approach is extremely important, as current Parkinson’s drugs aren’t good enough as they don’t stop, slow or reverse the condition. The last significant drug discovery for Parkinson’s was over 50 years ago. Despite huge scientific progress, there have been no major advances in Parkinson’s treatments in the last decade.
There were a number of dignitaries at the Reception, I was very fortunate to meet Theresa May, Sir Billy Connolly and Adil Ray [Pictured].