Parkinson’s patients need a cure. The millions living with the disease today, the many more who will age into Parkinson’s risk and their loved ones need a therapy that could prevent, stop or halt progression of the disease. No current treatments impact the disease process itself; they only treat the symptoms. In addition, the symptomatic treatments at our disposable leave much to be desired. Some symptoms — such as cognitive decline — have no therapeutic option.
Because Parkinson’s is a chronic illness, the issues that face persons with Parkinson’s disease vary with the stage of the disease. One challenge for research is how best to improve quality of life across the span of this disease. This past fall and winter the NINDS and the Parkinson’s community wrestled with this challenge in developing research recommendations for Parkinson’s disease (PD recommendations for research
Like most Parkinson’s organisations, the European Parkinson’s Disease Association (EPDA) believes there are many hurdles to overcome if people with Parkinson’s (PwPs) lives are to improve across Europe and the globe.
But, perhaps unusually, the EPDA’s priorities are not focused on research for new treatments or even a cure. Instead, the main challenges from our organisation’s point of view revolve around the fact that the majority of PwPs are not currently able to lead a dignified life that they are in control of.
Parkinson’s disease, a chronic, progressive neurological condition that affects 1.5 million in the United States and costs the American economy more than $14 billion annually, is one of the most mysterious challenges facing the biopharmaceutical industry today. The symptoms of the disease – tremors, difficulty speaking and swallowing and instability – are well-known and evident. But to develop treatments to help those already with the disease and the 60,000 additional individuals who develop the condition every year, remains a challenge.
I believe one of the biggest challenges we face with Parkinson's is the management of our therapies. The medical world tends to rely heavily on prescription drugs and surgical procedures such as Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) to help us control our symptoms.
I do not feel qualified to write about DBS surgery as I will not consider this treatment. This was a decision made after much thought, research, and discussions with family and friends. I am sure others will speak on this topic.