An expert in Parkinson’s disease spoke to Goulburn Valley Health staff yesterday in commemoration of World Parkinson’s Day.
Monash Health professor Bob Lansek OAM touched on the history of the disease and how close a cure was to being found.
‘‘James Parkinson wrote an essay on shaking palsy in 1817,’’ he said.
‘‘He saw three or four people with the disease, some of which were observed in the street.’’
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disease of the nervous system that causes disturbances in initiating, controlling and co-ordinating movement.
The symptoms gradually get worse over time.
Professor Lansek said a cure was slowly getting there and researchers were gaining a greater understanding of the disease every day.
‘‘Evidence suggests that the nerve cells are dying because of a rogue protein,’’ he said.
‘‘The protein accumulates and kills the cell, but why it reconfigures is unclear.’’
Professor Lansek directs a Victorian Comprehensive Parkinson’s Program which looks at the care of Parkinson’s sufferers.
‘‘Sufferers all face complex situations and we need to share the burden of care,’’ he said.
‘‘We can’t just let sufferers see their general practitioners for five minutes.’’
Goulburn Valley Health’s divisional clinical director of medicine Arup Bhattacharya said it was great to have the professor come to Shepparton.
‘‘I have known the professor for some time, he runs some innovative programs,’’ he said.
‘‘We invited him to educate us on comprehensive care for Parkinson’s patients. It was a valuable insight into the problems we face.’’
Throughout this month, events are taking place all over the world to raise more awareness and vital funds for research into better treatments and ultimately a cure for Parkinson’s disease patients.