The media response to the tragic suicide of the gifted actor Robin Williams has included much speculation about a possible connection between his recent diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease, or the medicines used to treat it, with the depression that apparently prompted him to take his life. At the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, we are not privy to the details of his diagnosis, or the prescriptions he may have used to treat it. Nor do we have any information about any other drugs he is rumored to have used, or whether these may have contributed to his depression.
The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation has long recognized the creative abilities that many people with Parkinson’s disease acquire when living with the disease. We even capture many of these expressions on our website with some of the best examples appearing in our acclaimed annual calendar (which you can now pre-order for 2015 here).
The following blog post from PDF Research Advocate Kirk Hall of Denver, CO is adapted from Kirk’s post on his own blog, shakypawsgrampa.blogspot.com. Last year, I wrote a blog post about the World Parkinson Congress (WPC) in Montreal, which highlighted a, “movement toward more patient engagement in the PD world.” Before giving an update on patient engagement in my own community in Colorado, here is a brief excerpt from that post from October 2013.
Several weeks ago, in early December 2013, health leaders from the Group of Eight (G8) met in London, pledging to cure or modify the course of dementia by 2025. This bold declaration is one that the Parkinson’s community is monitoring in light of the fact that about a quarter of people with PD are currently living with dementia. What Should You Know? Dementia describes a range of symptoms related to memory decline. While Alzheimer’s disease makes up the majority of cases of dementia, there are several kinds, including Parkinson’s disease-dementia (PD-D).
There’s no other way to describe it … I crashed at the Montreal airport. We had left the 3rd World Parkinson Congress (WPC) in plenty of time, but I think everyone leaving the Congress for home that day was trying to catch their plane simultaneously.
In early October, I was in Montreal attending WPC 2013. After a long flight from California, I headed straight to the conference center. The first thing I noticed as I entered the conference center was the presence of people with Parkinson’s (PwPs) everywhere. Several PwPs were accompanied by their caregivers, some traveled with friends and others looking for friends who were also attending WPC. It seemed like PwP from all over the world congregated in Montreal.