Archives : July 2017

The Quebec Parkinson Network: Remembering Tom Isaacs


The President of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust, Tom Isaacs, passed away unexpectedly on May 31st, at age 49. He was a trailblazer in the Parkinson’s community, and was diagnosed with the disease at 26 years old. His core and personal understanding of the disease, as well as his determination and advocacy, made him an incredible leader in the field.

He pushed several significant components crucial to Parkinson’s research that the Quebec Parkinson Network shares, such as the importance of clinical trial participation, and awareness initiatives.

The QPN offer our condolences to Tom’s family and The Cure Parkinson’s Trust team.


Blog: The 8 Disciplines of a Parkinson’s Patient


Posted on the Micheal J. Fox Foundation Blog, by author Stephen Bergenholtz.

Stephen Bergenholtz talks about how he adjusted his lifestyle and mindset to overcome the loss of motivation associated with his Parkinson’s, through a list he called the “8 Disciplines of a Parkinson’s Patient”. He writes about how his substitute for loss of motivation is simply discipline, or regular repetition of an activity until it eventually becomes comfortable.

  1. I will meet regularly with my doctor, follow his or her advice and find a new doctor if he or she becomes unavailable.

  2. I will take my prescribed medications, track my medication supplies and discuss any side effects with my doctor.

  3. I will follow a personalized exercise program in consultation with medical and fitness professionals.

  4. I will make good sleep habits a priority and reduce factors which inhibit me from getting a good night’s rest.

  5. I will foster an attitude of optimism and well-being and strive to alleviate stress through fun and healthy activities.

  6. I will remain engaged with my family, friends, caregivers and others, resisting the tendency to withdraw socially.

  7. I will read about maintaining a positive outlook grounded in my faith beliefs or my spiritual development.

  8. I will contribute to the Parkinson’s community by giving my time, talents, money, or by participating in medical trials.

New Evidence shows Parkinson’s could be Autoimmune Disease


A new article posted in Nature, Journal of Science suggests that Parkinson’s could be an autoimmune disorder, in which the immune system mistakenly attacks parts of the body. David Sulzer and his team at Columbia University studied brain tissue samples postmortem, and discovered that dopamine-producing neurons do display antigens.

The prevailing thought in Parkinson’s research has been that the disease begins with clumping of a protein called synuclein in the brain, which causes neighbouring dopamine-producing neurons to die—the result of this being tremors and difficulty moving associated with Parkinson’s.

This appears to be the first evidence that the immune system plays a major pathological role in Parkinson’s. However despite the findings by Sulzer, they are still looking into whether the neuron death is caused by immune response, or if it is a side effect of the disease.

Either way, the research found could lead to new ways to treat the illness.

—Source: Nature, Journal of Science (

Eye Test has potential for Early Diagnosis of Parkinson’s


A new technique developed by researchers in University College London (UCL), involves in depth examination of the eye which allows doctors to see individual nerve cell death in the back of the eye. Initially clinical trials were carried out on glaucoma patients, but nerve cell death is also associated with neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, and so the hope is through the technique, earlier detection of Parkinson’s symptoms will become common.

The technique is called DARC, or the Detection of Apoptosing Retinal Cells. It uses a fluorescent marker that attaches to cell proteins when injected into patients, and this allows more visibility and clearer detection of the retinal nerve cell situation.