As we have previously discussed, 2017 was a fantastic year for Parkinson’s research (Click here to read that post). And as we approach the end of January, it is already apparent that 2018 is likely to be as good if not better (Click here for an overview of what to expect from 2018).
The transition into a new year brings with it a period of reflection and resolutions. At the start of each year I usually have a post that asks for readers feedback regarding how the SoPD website could be improved.
This year is going to be slightly different.
In today’s post we will discuss some of the ideas that I have in mind for 2018 – any and all reader feedback would be greatly appreciated.
The title of today’s post is a play on words. It is a salute to the song ‘My generation’ by the rock band “The Who” (click on the image above to hear the song). The song was released as a single on the 29th October 1965. It reached No. 2 in the UK and No. 74 in America.
Despite never actually reaching No.1, Rolling Stone magazine still named ‘My generation’ the 11th greatest song of all time (Source). The British music magazine New Musical Express (NME), noted that the song “encapsulated the angst of being a teenager,” and was a “nod to the mod counterculture” (Source).
Pete Townshend. Source: Rnrchemist
The Who‘s guitarist, Pete Townshend, apparently wrote “My Generation,” on his 20th birthday (19th May 19th, 1965), while riding a train from London to Southampton for a television appearance. He claims that it was never meant to be the battle cry for young mod rebels that it went on to become.
Rather it was intended to express Townshend’s fears about ‘the impending strictures of adult life’. He preferred to stay young, free and experimental.
I am not having any teenage angst issues or fearing the very current strictures of adult life. I am simply using a play of the song’s title here in order to discuss a new year’s resolution I have made regarding the SoPD website over the never 12 months.
Let me explain.
I am a scientist by trade.
This occupation requires three things: energy, curiosity and experimentation. Discipline and rigour can be trained, but energy and curiosity are necessary characteristics from the outset. You certainly don’t need to be the sharpest knife in the draw (I am living proof of that!), but energy, curiosity and experimentation are key. And if one of them is missing or starting to fade, you need to re-evaluate your situation.
Now, curiosity and energy have kept this website going for sometime now. One random google search about an obscure drug or a new press release highlighting a new piece of research has been enough to keep me sitting here at 3am writing a post that spells out the science behind that topic and Parkinson’s.
But I will admit to a lack of ‘experimentation’ recently.
If I am honest, I have settled into a rhythm – a pattern of format and content. And while some level of consistency may be appreciated by readers, I think that ‘settling into’ anything is not necessarily a good thing.
Things need to evolve.
Thus, my new year’s resolution for the SoPD website was to start getting experimental with things again.
Usually at the start of the year, I have asked readers for feedback on how they feel the website could be improved. This has previously resulted in lots of ideas being proposed. Some great ideas which have been incorporated (such as a search engine) and other idea that are simply beyond the scope of this humble little effort (eg. a list of all ongoing clinical trials and lab-based research for Parkinson’s – others in the PD community are working on this though).
But I have come to realise that this approach is flawed.
Asking others for ideas is the wrong idea. Mother nature doesn’t do it, she just experiments. So this year, rather than asking for ideas, I am simply going to spell out the ideas I have planned for the website over the next 12 months and any & all reader feedback would be greatly appreciated.
In 2018, I am hoping to initiate these three experimental ideas on the website:
- A monthly overview of the Parkinson’s research that was reported during the last 4-5 weeks. This idea will hopefully provide readers with a smorgasbord of topics to explore in just one post at the end of the year. It will also be an exercise in self preservation – the 12 month summary that was provided at the end of the 2017 nearly ended me! Admittedly, this is not an overly ambitious idea, but I think it would be useful for readers.
- Online meet-up sessions with readers in which specific topics can be discussed. The format for this idea is a work in progress, but I am looking forward to experimenting with it. This will not be an online clinic where folks can turn up and ask questions about various medications, but rather an opportunity to discuss ongoing research topics and look at how those studies could take a more patient-centric approach. The goal of the forum will ultimately be for it to have a two-way street feel – that is to say if you sit in on a session you will hopefully feel comfortable with sharing your experiences and ideas. And fear not, it won’t be my ugly mug fronting all of the sessions – I am keen for different researchers to get involved with this each session. All that attendees would require is a computer that can handle Zoom. If anyone is interested in being a guinea pig on this madcap venture – please contact me. More information on this soon.
- Increasing content by inviting other researchers to post topics on the website. This is not a case of me stepping back from the website (I still really enjoy doing this). Nor is it an attempt to generate more ‘readers for revenue’ purposes (the site has never made money – all the advertising is controlled by WordPress). It is simply an attempt to increase the amount of information provided. The same rules will apply – such as no commercial products or services will be advertised/endorsed, and only content backed by peer-review research reports will be presented (if there is no data, there will be no post). I have no objections, however, to researchers highlighting their own research, especially if it results in constructive feedback from the PD community as to how the research could have more impact for them. If there are any researchers who are keen to write a post – please contact me (and I should add that I am not opposed to members of the PD community making contributions – if anything I would encourage it!).
Those were the three ideas I have been thinking about applying this year in my efforts to be more experimental.
Let’s see how they go.
Unlike most of my personal resolutions (which usually evaporate in the light of day on the 1st January), these one have certain milestones in place to help me stick to them (for example the end of January is fast approaching, so you can expect a January PD research review in the next few days).
As I have said, I would appreciate any feedback on the ideas and I have left them rather loosely defined in order to provide scope for alternative thoughts.
Let me know what you think.
The banner for today’s post was sourced from besthealthmag