I’d Like to Thank the Academy … for an Inspiring 2015 AAN Meeting!

research_vernaleo_beth_100x1001.jpgA few weeks ago, I attended my first American Academy of Neurology (AAN) meeting, which was held in Washington, DC. This was the 67th annual meeting of the AAN, which brings together 10,000 neurologists and neuroscientists working to bring the best patient care and innovative research to the field of neurology.

What should the PD community know about this gathering of professionals fighting their disease? Among the many highlights, here are a few of the more notable ones:

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From Baltimore to India: Visiting Nurse Notes with Alpa Uchil, M.P.H., R.N.

safra-1How are we preparing the next generation of nurses to care for the growing population of people with Parkinson’s? The alumni of The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program (EJS-VNF) at PDF are doing their part. Alumni of the program, such as Alpa Uchil, M.P.H., R.N., a nurse at The Johns Hopkins University (JHU) School of Medicine, undergo the “train the trainer” curriculum, so that they can, in turn, educate their nursing students.

We sat down with Ms. Uchil, who completed the program in 2014, to understand her work in Parkinson’s and how the EJS-VNF program has made an impact. She’s not only sharing the lessons she learned with students at JHU in Baltimore, but she’s also bringing them online to colleagues in India.

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Walking Over Water for Parkinson’s: Q&A with Nancy Redkey


Nancy Redkey (far right) with walkers and PDF staff.

Last Sunday, the Parkinson’s Disease Support Group of the Mid-Hudson Valley, Inc., hosted their fifth annual Walk Over Water in Poughkeepsie, NY, to benefit the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.

More than 150 people attended, bringing the walk’s five-year fundraising total to $80,000. Not only that, the event continues to garner greater support from the community, including businesses and government. This year, NY State Senator Sue Serino joined to declare April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month, along with County Executive Marc Molinaro.

How do they do it? Read our interview with group leader Nancy Redkey, as she reflects on the annual walk, what inspires her to make a difference and tip on how to start your own walk.

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From Diane: It’s Our Time to Speak Up

eblast_pam2015_week4_image#2Which part of living with Parkinson’s disease should be the priority for scientists to study? For Diane Cook the answer is: cognitive issues.

She submitted her answer through the Second Annual PDF Community Choice Research Awards survey. Now she is urging you to share yours by Thursday, April 30. Diane worked closely with PDF to develop the first Community Choice Research Awards survey last year, which are a “people’s choice” for PD research grants. The ProjectSpark Foundation run by Diane’s children donated funds for the awards.

Hear from Diane about why the “people’s choice” awards are critical for PD research, why she answered cognitive issues on her survey and why she urges you to take the survey too — today.

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Taking Parkinson’s Day by Day: A Q&A with Artist Wendell Lowe

A picture is worth a thousand words  that’s how the old saying goes. And this has certainly been the case for Wendell Lowe’s photograph, “Day by Day.”

His image, which appears in the month of April in PDF’s 2015 Creativity and Parkinson’s Calendar, speaks volumes through an artistic depiction of a simple everyday item  the pillbox.

What does the pillbox image mean to you? For many people  not only those affected by Parkinson’s, but also for anyone who has experienced a serious illness or cared for aging parents, it so quickly speaks volumes.

Without any words, we see, hear and remember everything the pillbox means  the nagging symptoms, the complicated medication schedules PD requires, the times we set reminders, the times we forget a dose … the daily effort it takes to fight a chronic disease. Find out the story behind the image and Wendell’s participation in PDF’s Creativity and Parkinson’s Project, and what it means for him to share his work with the PD community.

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Stepping Ahead with Student Scientists: Kristin Ford

ford_kristenApril is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, and at PDF, we thought this would be a great time to catch up with Kristin Ford, a former PDF-funded Summer Fellow, to see how PDF funding helped to jumpstart her career in Parkinson’s research and care. You may remember that last month we caught up with another fellow, Will Johnson, who was also supported through PDF’s Summer Student Fellowship Program, which funds undergraduates and medical students to spend their summers working on PD-related research projects with mentors in the field. Typically, fellowships are offered for 10 weeks with an award of $4,000.

Kristin spent her Fellowship completing the project, “A Novel Evaluation of Daytime Vigilance in Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease Using a Virtual Reality Street-Crossing Task,” while an undergraduate at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in the summer of 2013. Kristin is now training to become a physical therapist, and plans to work with people with Parkinson’s disease. We sat down with her to hear about her experiences during her Fellowship.

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