Tagged: 2018

The road ahead: Parkinson’s research in 2019

 

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable”

This quote has been attributed to General Dwight D. Eisenhower (Click here for the full story of this quote), and while the sentence does not immediately make a whole lot of sense, it does apply to our discussion here regarding research in Parkinson’s.

At the start of each year, it is a useful practise to layout what we are expecting and hoping to see in the world of Parkinson’s research over the next 12 months. This can help us better anticipate where ‘the battle’ may go, and allow us to prepare for things further ahead. Where it actually finishes is unpredictable, but where we currently stand will hopefully provide us with a useful measure.

In this post, I will lay out what we believe the next 12 months holds for us with regards to the Parkinson’s-related research.

And be warned: This is usually the longest post of the year.

 


Source: Protradeunited

In the introduction to last year’s outlook I wrote of the dangers of having expectations (Click here to read that post). A wise man (the great Charlie Munger) once said: If you want to lead a happy life, lower your expectations.

It is good advice, and as a rule, I try to follow it in life – I am a cup is completely empty kind of guy. I have no expectations, and so when anything happens – it is magic. I do have ambitions, but no expectations.

And others wrote about managing expectations in 2018 (Click here for a great example).

To put it plainly: Expectations are the primary cause of all disappointment.

Sage wisdom. Source: Unitystone

And it is important, as we look ahead at the next 12 months of Parkinson’s research, we need to be very careful not to have too many (or to build up too many) expectations.

 

Right, now, with all of that said, it may now befuddle some readers that the theme of the 2019 SoPD outlook is ‘great expectations‘.

Let me explain:

Continue reading

2018: Year in review

 

In this end-of-year post we review the year that was 2018.

Month-by-month we will briefly discuss some of the major pieces of research/announcement that have define the year and advanced our understanding of Parkinson’s.

The list is based on nothing more than the author’s personal opinion – apologies to any researchers who feel left out.

And in the next post we will consider what the year ahead (2019) has in store for us.

 


Source: a-star

In the 525600 minutes that made up 2018, a lot happened in the world of Parkinson’s research.

A total of 7672 research papers were published with the keyword ‘Parkinson’s’ according to the Pubmed website (this compared to 7675 for all of 2017 – this obviously represents a dismal failure for the Parkinson’s research community: the first time in quite a while that we haven’t beaten the number of research reports from the previous year!

I am of course kidding. The quantity of research reports is irrelevant. But it does make me smile that we missed the mile stone by just 3 papers!

2018 has been another amazing year for Parkinson’s research. And while I appreciate that a comment like this means little to someone living with the condition on a day-to-day, remarkable progress has been made not only in our understanding of the condition, but also in the various ways in which the research is being done and potential therapies are approaching the condition.

In this post, we will review the year that was by briefly summarising some of the major research-related events of each month in 2018.

And that journey begins with:

Continue reading

Monthly Research Review – December 2018

 

At the end of each month the SoPD writes a post which provides an overview of some of the major pieces of Parkinson’s-related research that were made available during December2018.

The post is divided into five parts based on the type of research (Basic biology, disease mechanism, clinical research, other news, and Review articles/videos). 

 


So, what happened during December 2018?

In world news:

7th December  – The U.N.’s International Telecommunication Union reported that, by the end of 2018, more than half – a full 51.2 percent – of the world’s population will be using the Internet (Click here to read more about this).

 

8th December – Drama at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) meeting in Katowice, Poland. The US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait object to adopting the scientific report – which was commissioned at the 2015 meeting. The study suggests that the world is now “completely off track” on climate change, heading towards a 3 degree C. rise by the end of this century rather than a mere 1.5 degree C. rise (Click here to read more about this).

12th December – Negotiators at COP24 in Katowice finally secured an agreement on a range of measures that will make the Paris climate pact operational in 2020 (Click here to read more about this).

 

17th December – Astronomers announced that they have identified the most distant object ever observed within our solar system. Currently named “2018 VG18” (but nicknamed ‘Farout’), the 500km (310 miles) wide body is approximately is 120 times further away from the sun than Earth is (to put that in perspective, Pluto is only 34 times – Click here to read more about this).

 

In the world of Parkinson’s research, a great deal of new research and news was reported:

In December 2018, there were 597 research articles added to the Pubmed website with the tag word “Parkinson’s” attached (7672 for all of 2018 – compared to 7675 for all of 2017….seriously?!? Just 3 papers difference?!?). In addition, there was a wave to news reports regarding various other bits of Parkinson’s research activity (clinical trials, etc).

The top 5 pieces of Parkinson’s news

Continue reading

Monthly Research Review – October 2018

At the end of each month the SoPD writes a post which provides an overview of some of the major pieces of Parkinson’s-related research that were made available during October 2018.

The post is divided into five parts based on the type of research (Basic biology, disease mechanism, clinical research, other news, and Review articles/videos). 


So, what happened during October 2018?

In world news:

1st October – The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded to James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo for their discoveries in cancer therapy (Click here for the press release).

3rd October – The Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded to George P. Smith, Frances Arnold, and Greg Winter for taking control of evolution and designing molecules used it for purposes that bring the greatest benefit to humankind (Click here to read the press release).

8th October – The 27th Human Tower Competition finished in Tarragona, Spain. ‘Castells’ were declared by Unesco one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2010. Look at the passion of these crazy Catalonians (seriously, take a moment and watch this video):

 

 

 

 

 

(Click here for another example – and turn the sound up to listen to the excitement in the commentator’s voice)

18th October – The auction house Christie’s announced that ‘Portrait of Edmond Belamy’ a painting generated entirely by artificial intelligence, will be sold at auction

(Yeah, I don’t understand art either)

30th October – NASA’s Parker Solar Probe spacecraft flew closer to the Sun than any other human made object, passing within 42.7 million km (26.6 million miles) from the Sun’s surface.

In the world of Parkinson’s research, a great deal of new research and news was reported:

In October 2018, there were 647 research articles added to the Pubmed website with the tag word “Parkinson’s” attached (6530 for all of 2018 so far). In addition, there was a wave to news reports regarding various other bits of Parkinson’s research activity (clinical trials, etc).

The top 6 pieces of Parkinson’s news

Continue reading

The Bill and Melinda burden study

 

Determining exactly how many individuals there are in the world that are affected by Parkinson’s is a difficult task. Previously, a lot of ‘gues-stimation’ has been used in these quantitative efforts. But a clearer idea of the geographical, national and regional spread of Parkinson’s burden, could provide us with very useful information to help better understand the condition.

The Global Burden Disease Collaborators conducted a world-wide assessment of Parkinson’s burden in 2016, and this week the results of their study were published. The findings make for interesting reading. 

In today’s post, we will review the results and discuss what they mean for the Parkinson’s community.

 


Source: Nationalgeographic

This is one of those classic ‘boy meets girl’ stories… but with a ‘saves the world’-kind of twist to it.

Having just graduated from Duke University (with a degree in computer science and economics) in the summer of 1986, Melinda Ann French began working as an intern for IBM. Having learnt to program (in Basic) on Apple II computers during her teens, she was interested in a future career in the developing world of computer technology.

She eventually scored a job with a new company called Microsoft, and for the next 6 years she climbed the corporate ladder, from a software marketing position to general manager of information products (such as Microsoft Bob, Expedia, and Encarta).

Melinda met William (Bill) Henry Gates III four months after starting her job at Microsoft – they happened to sit next to each other at a trade-fair dinner in New York. But several months would pass by before Bill actually asked her out on a date.

They were married in Hawaii on New Years day 1994.

In 2000, the couple launched the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – which has gone on to become one of the largest private foundations in the world with US$50+ billion in assets.

Excuse me, this is all very interesting, but what does it have to do with Parkinson’s?

Continue reading

Monthly Research Review – September 2018

At the end of each month the SoPD writes a post which provides an overview of some of the major pieces of Parkinson’s-related research that were made available during September 2018.

The post is divided into five parts based on the type of research (Basic biology, disease mechanism, clinical research, other news, and Review articles/videos). 


So, what happened during September 2018?

In world news:

September 2nd – A fire destroyed the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro –  a “catastrophic loss of artifacts”.

Source: HuffPost

September 14th – Hurricane Florence made landfall in Wrightsville Beach (North Carolina), caused extensive damage and flooding throughout in the Carolinas.

Source: WPLG

September 17th – In an effort to study the hidden physical properties of electrons, Japanese researchers built the ‘most powerful magnet on Earth’ – a 1200 Tesla, 3.2 megajoules beast. The experiment was supposed to go off with a bang, but the ‘bang’ was slightly more than expected: it blew the door off the protective chamber holding the experiment!

September 21st – after a three year journey, the first rover of the Japanese Hayabusa2 spacecraft touched down on the surface of the asteroid Ryugu. A truly remarkable achievement.

Source: NYTimes (some amazing images on this link)

September 24th – Two reports were published – one in the journal Nature Medicine and another in the journal New England Journal of Medicine – describing the case of 29-year-old Jered Chinnock (who 5 years ago could not feel or move his body from the chest down) recovering the ability of assisted walking following spinal cord stimulation and intensive physical therapy.

September 28th – A magnitude 7.5 earthquake hit the island of Sulawesi (Indonesia), causing a tsunami and terrible destruction and loss of life.

Source: Australian

 

In the world of Parkinson’s research, a great deal of new research and news was reported:

In September 2018, there were 841 research articles added to the Pubmed website with the tag word “Parkinson’s” attached (5978 for all of 2018 so far). In addition, there was a wave to news reports regarding various other bits of Parkinson’s research activity (clinical trials, etc).

The top 5 pieces of Parkinson’s news

Continue reading

Monthly Research Review – August 2018

 

At the end of each month the SoPD writes a post which provides an overview of some of the major pieces of Parkinson’s-related research that were made available during August 2018.

The post is divided into five parts based on the type of research (Basic biology, disease mechanism, clinical research, other news, and Review articles/videos). 

 


So, what happened during August 2018?

In world news:

August 1 – American technology company became the world’s first public company to achieve a market capitalization of US$1 trillion.

August 12th – NASA launched the unmanned ‘Parker Solar Probe’ which will study the Sun (up close and personal)

August 16th – Singer, song writer and pianist Aretha Louise Franklin passed away (sad day)

August 31st – Joe Giaglia, director of California Skateparks, who had previously made a x12.5 scale replica of a skate board finally got it certified by Guinness World Records as the largest in the world.

Seriously, it measures 35 feet, 7 inches long (10.8 meters)!

 

In the world of Parkinson’s research, a great deal of new research and news was reported:

In August 2018, there were 679 research articles added to the Pubmed website with the tag word “Parkinson’s” attached (5372 for all of 2018 so far). In addition, there was a wave to news reports regarding various other bits of Parkinson’s research activity (clinical trials, etc).

The top 5 pieces of Parkinson’s news

Continue reading

Monthly Research Review – April 2018

At the end of each month the SoPD writes a post which provides an overview of some of the major pieces of Parkinson’s-related research that were made available during April 2018.

The post is divided into five parts based on the type of research (Basic biology, disease mechanism, clinical research, other news, and a new feature: Review articles/videos). 


So, what happened during April 2018?

In world news:

  • April 4–15th – The 2018 Commonwealth Games were held in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia (New Zealand came 5th in the medals tally… not bragging, just saying).

Source: Vimeo

  • April 27th – Kim Jong-un crosses into South Korea to meet with President Moon Jae-in, becoming the first North Korean leader to cross the Demilitarised Zone since its creation in 1953. In initial small steps towards reconciliation, South Korea said it would remove loudspeakers that blare propaganda across the border, while North Korea said it would shift its clocks to align with its southern neighbour.

BFFs? Source: QZ

Source: Plus

  • And finally the city of Trier in Germany is already struggling to keep up with demand for ‘0-euro’ notes, bearing the face of its most famous son and communism’s creator Karl Marx. Sold for 3 euros each, the notes are part of celebrations for his 200th birthday (5th May 1818).

You get what you pay for. Source: DDR

In the world of Parkinson’s research, a great deal of new research and news was reported:

Continue reading

Monthly Research Review – January 2018

Today’s (experimental) post provides something new – an overview of some of the major bits of Parkinson’s-related research that were made available in January 2018.


In January of 2018, the world was rocked by news that New Zealand had become the 11th country in the world to put a rocket into orbit (no really, I’m serious. Not kidding here – Click here to read more). Firmly cementing their place in the rankings of world superpowers. In addition, they became only the second country to have a prime minister get pregnant during their term in office (in this case just 3 months into her term in office – Click here to read more about this).

A happy New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardine

In major research news, NASA and NOAA announced that 2017 was the hottest year on record globally (without an El Niño), and among the top three hottest years overall (Click here for more on this), and scientists in China reported in the journal Cell that they had created the first monkey clones, named Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua (Click here for that news)

Zhong Zhong the cute little clone. Source: BBC

Continue reading

The road ahead: Parkinson’s research in 2018

The great ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky once said “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be” (the original quote actually came from his father, Walter). 

At the start of each year, it is a useful practise to layout what is planned for the next 12 months. This can help us better anticipate where ‘the puck’ will be, and allow us to prepare for things further ahead.

2017 was an incredible year for Parkinson’s research, and there is a lot already in place to suggest that 2018 is going to be just as good (if not better).

In this post, we will lay out what we can expect over the next 12 months with regards to the Parkinson’s-related clinical trials research of new therapies.


Charlie Munger (left) and Warren Buffett. Source: Youtube

Many readers will be familiar with the name Warren Buffett.

The charming, folksy “Oracle of Omaha” is one of the wealthiest men in the world. And he is well known for his witticisms about investing, business and life in general.

Warren Buffett. Source: Quickmeme

He regularly provides great one liners like:

“We look for three things [in good business leaders]: intelligence, energy, and integrity. If they don’t have the latter, then you should hope they don’t have the first two either. If someone doesn’t have integrity, then you want them to be dumb and lazy”

“Work for an organisation of people you admire, because it will turn you on. I always worry about people who say, ‘I’m going to do this for ten years; and if I really don’t like it very much, then I’ll do something else….’ That’s a little like saving up sex for your old age. Not a very good idea”

“Choosing your heroes is very important. Associate well, marry up and hope you find someone who doesn’t mind marrying down. It was a huge help to me”

Mr Buffett is wise and a very likeable chap.

Few people, however, are familiar with his business partner, Charlie Munger. And Charlie is my favourite of the pair.

Continue reading