On the occasion of World Parkinson’s Disease Day, France Parkinson’s organized 82 days of conferences and events to raise public awareness. Marie-Noria Valguyere, department delegate at the association, provides an update on this disease. Interview.
James Parkinson, born on April 11, was the first to describe the symptoms of Tremors, which was later renamed Parkinson’s. On Monday, April 11, the Tarn-et-Garonne Foundation’s France Parkinson’s Commission, in Castelsarrasin, organized an afternoon to raise awareness of World Parkinson’s Disease Day. Marie Noria Valguyer, Departmental Delegate at the association, answers our questions about this disease that has long been a taboo.
Can you remember what Parkinson’s disease is?
We often talk about Alzheimer’s disease but don’t often talk about Parkinson’s disease. This disease is still unknown, it is the destruction of dopaminergic neurons. These are the ones that produce dopamine which is the movement hormone. The only solution to cure the disease is dopamine therapy. It is unstoppable but physical activity, done intensely, helps to avoid twisting, balances and coordinates the body.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of this disease are shivering, slowness and stiffness, and these are the most important motor signs. Then there are the non-motors, which are visceral signs like constipation, lack of sleep and especially a lack of focus and coordination. It is a chronic and progressive neurological disease that significantly affects the personal and social lives of patients.
How is the diagnosis made?
This disease is detected either by a clear clinical sign or by tremors of the arm and / or hand, or by slowing people down or by their stiffness. There are no tests that detect Parkinson’s disease like some infectious or parasitic diseases. In the case when one hesitates about the origin of the pathology, one performs a datscan (a specific marker scanner) that shows brain lesions, destroying dopaminergic neurons at the brain level. But in principle, a patient who arrives with a frozen face or who has slowed down significantly, the prognosis is clear. These are basically just shivers for comfort.
Can we cure it?
You can stop the symptoms but not the disease. We don’t know all the reasons. Pesticides are one such pesticide and are an occupational disease of farmers. All solvents are also found in plastics and heavy chemical plants. Boxers also suffer from Parkinson’s disease. There is 10% heredity. It usually can develop between the ages of 58 and 65, but 8% of people with Parkinson’s disease develop it by the age of 40.
How does the association support patients?
France Parkinson welcomes and supports patients and their loved ones by explaining the disease, treatments and aids to them, stimulating research and raising public awareness. Recognized as a public utility in 1988, it has 10,000 members, 70 local committees, and 450 volunteers. 200,000 people have Parkinson’s disease. We want to raise awareness of the disease and get some money back to help with research. Regardless of medical or surgical treatment, physical activity is essential. Our members benefit from Argentine tango, soft gymnastics and choir. Singing is very important, it comes in addition to speech therapy to help people vocalize, swallow and not make mistakes. For a few years the Montauban City Council has loaned us a room, every Thursday we organize from 2 pm to 3 pm. Choir and from 3 pm to 4 pm. Soft gymnastics. Every Tuesday from 2pm to 3pm we present Argentine Tango.
Why did you get involved in this association?
I got involved in supporting a friend, a person with Parkinson’s disease, who had taken charge of the association. He’s been asking me for medical help since he was a photographer. I was doing medical articles and then saw some of his acquaintances become more or less disabled. He was afraid of this future and said to me, “If you want, take care of him because when I see who has a wand, it bothers me a lot,” I withdrew and took the following.
World Parkinson’s Disease Day Events
With 450 volunteers, the association aims to welcome and support patients and their relatives by explaining illness, treatments, and aids. On the occasion of this World Day, France Parkinson is working to raise public awareness of this still unknown disease through many activities. 140 people were present from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm at the Espace Descazeaux in Castelsarrasin where conferences, demonstrations and songs were given.
Medical treatment and surgery are very important to help patients, but physical activity should not be forgotten. Done intensely, it helps prevent frizz, balances and coordinates the body. The day ended with listening to some of the songs performed by France Parkinson’s choir over lunch and clouds.
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