Parkinson's Oxford and District Parkinson's UK
▲ Top of page ▲

Research

Informative articles by our own members

We are beginning to build a collection of research and information material written by Branch members. We hope you will find it useful.

What goes wrong in Parkinson's?

This short, easy-to-read article about the mechanisms in our brain cells that are affected by Parkinson's was written by our Research Officer, Dr Kevin McFarthing, in April 2018. If you're unfamiliar with some of the scientific jargon and ideas that we often hear about when discussing Parkinson's research and treatments, this will help! Download the article as a PDF document here, or preview it in your web browser using this link.

NEWThe Hope List: Parkinson's Therapies in Development

Kevin also maintains a document listing all the drugs and other therapies that are being developed or in trial, along with some whose development has been abandoned. Download the Excel spreadsheet here, or preview it in your web browser using this link. Some of the information in Kevin's spreadsheet is taken from the PDTrialTracker.info website, which you may also find interesting.

Keeping up with Parkinson's research

Anyone who's tried to stay up-to-date with research in the Parkinson's field will know that there is a huge amount of information appearing every week, and unless you're an active researcher it's difficult to follow it all. There are many blogs, digests and other resources available on the web, but their quality is hard to assess and some have a very limited focus. We would like to suggest some resources that we know to be trustworthy and broad in scope:

Science of Parkinson's blog (open in new tab)

Dr Simon Stott, a Parkinson's researcher at Cambridge University, maintains a fascinating, wide-ranging and brilliantly written blog. He updates it two or three times a week. Some of the articles are quite technical, but they're always explained clearly and with humour. Highly recommended.

You can go straight to Simon's blog at this link. However, if you're new to it, his review of 2017 research may be a good starting point.

To receive regular updates on Simon's blog, you will need to have a Wordpress account so that you can "follow" it. If you don't want to sign up with Wordpress, you can simply check back and look at the blog every week or so – or, if you're a Twitter user, you can follow his account @ScienceofPD where he highlights new articles.

The research blog of Parkinson's UK (open in new tab)

Our parent charity Parkinson's UK always takes huge care to provide accurate, up-to-date and clear information. Claire Bale, Beckie Port and other research staff at the charity maintain an interesting collection of material, with new items added every few days or so, at their research blog which you can find at this link. It covers current developments in research, but also includes material on patient experiences, living well with Parkinson's, and background articles of general interest. We particularly liked this piece on how to assess anecdotal evidence thoughtfully.

If you sign up for an account with the Medium.com website, you can "follow" Parkinson's UK to get regular updates on new content.

Our own research summary

There is lots of very exciting research into Parkinson’s covering everything from improving the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s (PwP) through to the search for a cure. It is such a rapidly developing and changing field of research that we can't present a summary that would remain meaningful for very long. So, we have focused on the general approach adopted by Parkinson’s UK (PUK) and provided links to a number of other sources for the very latest information on Parkinson’s research that you can search for yourself
Key sections of our research summary include:

Our complete Research Summary document may be downloaded here.

Exenatide excitement

At our July 2017 Branch meeting, Dr Richard Wyse of Cure Parkinson's Trust shared his excitement about some clinical trial results that he was expecting to be published very soon.

The 3rd August 2017 edition of The Lancet carries the report, suggesting very promising (but not yet fully understood) preliminary results from use of the diabetes drug Exenatide in mid-stage Parkinson's patients. The full article is only available with a subscription, but a summary is available online. It's also generated a lot of interest in the medical and popular press. Here are some commentaries that we've found useful (links open in a new tab):

Not bad for a drug that was first identified in the saliva of the venomous Gila monster!

Oxford Parkinson’s Disease Research Day 2017

In March 2017 the fourth Oxford Parkinson’s Disease Research Day took place in the heart of the University’s Science Area. As members of Parkinson’s UK Oxford Branch we were pleased to be invited to attend. Read the report by Nigel Hamilton here.