Message From the Editor

Marina Joseph
Marina Joseph

Welcome to the summer issue of eParkinsonPost for 2014. We continue to work together with our national network of partners to provide support, services and programs to Canadians living with Parkinson’s disease.

You can read about our recent participation in the Collaborative Program in Neuroscience (CPIN) Research Day at University of Toronto’s Medical School and International Symposium on Synaptic Plasticity and Brain Disorders at Mount Sinai Hospital. A number of the more than 80 poster presentations from students in disciplines ranging from biochemistry to cell and system biology to psychology were related to Parkinson’s research, a testament to the complexity of the disease and its profound impact on quality of life.

Parkinson Society Canada is partnering with Canada Cares to celebrate caregivers who play an important role in supporting people with Parkinson’s. Read about how you can nominate a family member or professional caregiver for a Canada Cares Caregiver award.

Also in this issue, we share updates on Parkinson Society Canada’s outreach in Canada targeted to support family doctors and other health professionals with resources to apply the Canadian Guidelines on Parkinson’s Disease in daily practice. Recently, we participated in three major conferences: the Canadian Pharmacist Conference in Saskatoon, the Canadian Association of Neuroscience Nurses (CANN) and the Canadian Neurological Sciences Federation Conference, held in Banff, Alberta.

We invite you to join us for a webinar presentation featuring two of Canada’s leading movement disorder specialists who will update you on new treatments in Parkinson’s since publication of the first Canadian Guidelines on Parkinson’s Disease. Register online at www.parkinson.ca/webinar2014.

During the coming months, Parkinson Society Canada will be building on the positive momentum of lobby day by continuing to foster relationships with key decision makers and identifying new opportunities to ensure the Parkinson’s voice is heard.

We encourage you to share this newsletter with friends, family and your Parkinson’s health care team. And let your voice be heard by providing comments to the articles in this issue. If you have an idea for a future story, send it toeditor@parkinson.ca.

Raising the Parkinson’s voice on Parliament Hill

lobby_day_2014Our lobby day in Ottawa was an excellent opportunity to identify champions for Parkinson’s and to ensure the needs of Canadians affected by the disease are well reflected in national policy.

Our conversations with MPs and civil servants focused on three priority areas impacting the Canadian Parkinson’s community:

  1. Support for caregivers
  2. Genetic fairness legislation, and
  3. Establishing a comprehensive healthcare plan to address the complex needs of seniors.

Canadians affected by Parkinson’s were also recognized in both the House of Commons and the Senate. MP Wladyslaw Lizon, member of the Standing Committee on Health, and Senator Kelvin Ogilvie, Chair of the Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, each made an announcement to highlight Parkinson’s Awareness Month.

Our sincere gratitude to those volunteers and staff who contributed to this lobby day’s phenomenal success, including representatives from the National Advocacy Committee, Parkinson Society Eastern Ontario and the National Board of Directors.

Parkinson Society Canada is building on the positive momentum of lobby day by continuing to foster relationships with key decision makers and identifying new opportunities to ensure the Parkinson’s voice is heard at public policy tables.

For more information, visit our Advocacy Centre on our website at parkinson.ca.

What’s New in Research?

Katherine McDonald, York University, right, with Julie Wysocki, Director, National Research Program, PSC
Katherine McDonald, York University, right, with Julie Wysocki, Director, National Research Program, PSC

Parkinson Society Canada attends CPIN Day 2014 at University of Toronto

You are never too old to go back to school. That’s what Parkinson Society Canada discovered when it supported the 2014 Collaborative Program In Neuroscience (CPIN)Research Day and International Symposium on Synaptic Plasticity and Brain Disorders. The event, held at the Medical Sciences Building, University of Toronto as well as the Mount Sinai Hospital Auditorium, was like speed-dating. But instead of mini-dates with prospective partners, the conversations revolved around the more than 80 poster presentations from students in disciplines ranging from biochemistry to cell and system biology to psychology.

Among the presenters was Vincent Lam, pharmacology & toxicology, University of Toronto, whose supervisor is Parkinson Society Canada-funded researcher Ali Salahpour. Lam’s project was titled, “TAAR1 as a new Target for Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease: The Discovery of Novel Chemical Compounds Through the use of in silico Screening and in vivo Testing.” Katherine McDonald, Department of Psychology, York University also presented her work on, “A Dance Intervention for People with Parkinson’s Disease: Investigating Short-term and Long-term Impacts of Dance on Physical Functioning and Quality of Life.” This project is part of Dr. Joseph DeSouza’s Parkinson Society Canada-funded project in partnership with Canada’s National Ballet School.

This year, the Symposium was held in honour of Professor John C. Roder’s contribution to science and education. The evening featured a tribute honouring the achievements of Dr. John Roder, and his career, in which he has devoted more than 25 years to investigating the molecular processes underlying synaptic regulation and mental disorders. He has made major contributions to the field of synaptic plasticity and brain function.

CPIN’s goal of fostering a strong and proactive collaborative neuroscience training program is well aligned with PSC’s National Research Program mandate to build neuroscience research capacity. We look forward to the 2015 event.

Save the date:

The 2015 Donald Calne lecture will take place in conjunction with the Canadian Neurological Sciences Federation (CNSF) annual conference in Toronto on Thursday, June 11, 2015 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. Details to follow.

Watch for the National Research Program 2014-2016 funding announcements in the next issue of eParkinsonPost.

Nominate your caregiver for a Canada Cares award

Bruce Ireland (l), receives first National Family Caregiver award.
Bruce Ireland (l), receives first National Family Caregiver award.

Canada Cares, a not-for profit organization dedicated to celebrating family and professional caregivers, is calling for nominations for its 2014 Canada Cares awards. It’s a great way to show your appreciation to your own caregiver and to help recognize the contributions of all those who care for others in our communities.

Five family caregivers and five professional caregivers from four regions of Canada (Western, Central, Atlantic and Northern) will be selected to receive a Canada Cares Award. One of the regional award winners in each category (family or professional) will be chosen as the Canada Cares National Caregivers of the Year.

Bruce Ireland, Past-Chair of Parkinson Society Canada’s Board of Directors was the inaugural recipient of the National Family Caregiver award in 2013. Bruce is caregiver to his wife Karen, who lives with Parkinson’s.

Additional Canada Cares awards include the One Wish Award, which awards $10,000 to one caregiver to make a care giving wish come true; the Caregiver-Friendly Workplace Award and a Caring Communities Award.

To find out more and to nominate your family or professional caregiver for a Canada Cares award, visit canadacares.org. Contest closes September 15, 2014 and winners will be announced in November, 2014.

Canada Guidelines on Parkinson’s Disease – What’s New

cpjrpcVarious allied health professionals hold promise of changing the landscape of clinical practice for their clients by providing consistent standard of care of the treatment and management of Parkinson’s disease. That’s because more and more health professionals have access to the Canadian Guidelines on Parkinson’s Disease (CGPD) disseminated by Parkinson Society Canada (PSC).

Last month PSC attended the Canadian Pharmacist Conference in Saskatoon where pharmacists were introduced to the Parkinson Guidelines for Pharmacists, an article published in the May/June 2014 issue of the Canadian Pharmacists Journal. The article emphasizes the role pharmacists play in the care of individuals living with Parkinson’s. Given the fact that community pharmacists are knowledgeable about how medications work and their side-effects, they can better support both patients and physicians in the ongoing management of medications.

June also saw PSC at the Canadian Neurological Sciences Federation (CNSF) Conference in Banff, Alberta.   PSC supported Drs. Alfonso Fasano and Mandar Jog, an author and reviewer of the CGPD, present a session to neurologists on the most up to date research on the management of Parkinson’s disease. The doctors discussed how the CGPD serve as a guide in assessing drug therapies, identifying appropriate treatment options and/or surgical treatment choices. Delivering consistent care will allow people with Parkinson’s to make better informed decisions regarding their personal treatment choices.

In June PSC continued to build professional partnerships, this time with the Canadian Association of Neuroscience Nurses (CANN) at their annual conference, also held in Banff. Lucie Lachance, a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Movement Disorders at the Montreal Neurological Hospital at the McGill University Health Centre, delivered a workshop to help nurses apply the CGPD to their clinical practice in the management of their Parkinson’s patients.

Topics ranged from early onset Parkinson’s (diagnosis of adults aged 21 to 39 years) to the more advanced stages of the disease, outlining how to best treat and manage Parkinson’s patients based on the recommendations laid out in the CGPD. The workshop utilized realistic scenarios that neuroscience nurses may encounter in everyday practice to identify appropriate interventions that would help maintain a higher quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s.

Professionals in all disciplines offer their unique perspective when treating people with Parkinson’s. Clinicians are encouraged to provide feedback to the CGPD through the online survey available at ParkinsonClinicalGuidelines.ca.

PSC will continue to expand its continuing education and development activities for health professionals in Canada through established relationships with physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists.

For resources for individuals visit www.parkinson.ca and visit the Resources section of the website for health professionals at ParkinsonClinicalGuidelines.ca. For more information, contact Grace.Ferrari@parkinson.ca, National Manager, Professional and Public Education.