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I started writing about the research being conducted in Parkinson’s in 2014. 

If I’m honest, it was simply an experiment. Having failed to write the next great kiwi novel (think Katherine Mansfield, Margaret Mahy, Witi Ihimaera, Eleanor Catton, and most recently Rose Carlyle), to distract myself I started playing around with science writing to see if I liked it.

And what do ye know: I did

One thing led to another… and now there’s 500 posts on this thing called “The Science of Parkinson’s” (Click here for the full list). 

In today’s post, we will revisit some of the key moments and thoughts on that journey.

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The Science of Parkinson’s began life in the clinic room in the photo above.

It is clinic room 1 at the Brain Repair Centre at the University of Cambridge.

Back in 2014, yours truly had been working as a postdoctoral research scientist in Prof Roger Barker‘s lab, and (this will sound cliché, but) after almost 15 years of researching the biology of the Parkinson’s, I realised that I didn’t have much practical experience with the disease itself. Kind of like a taxi driver who thinks he has memorised all the roads, but has never actually climbed behind the wheel and interacted with a stranger wanting to be driven somewhere.

So I volunteered to help out in the clinic once or twice a week, doing some of the cognitive assessments.

It was straight forward work – leading folks through the various standardised tests – but the experience was extremely enlightening. Not just because one saw the heterogeneity of cases and the impact that the condition has on a human body (over time, with periodic visits), but also the human side of the whole beastly thing. You met and got to know the people affected and their families. You learnt their stories and listened to their lived experience of PD. It was a fascinating experience – one which further energized my efforts in the lab.

Everything had been going smoothly for about 8-9 months…

And then Martin Taylor walked in.

Continue reading “500”

Administrative post: Approaching 500

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A week or so ago, I was poking around in the cluttered back room of this website when I found something that truly stunned me: The SoPD website had 468 posts (This post is #470)

For a moment I was speechess. And as I looked at the number, a mix of horror and awe passed over me. If I had to have a guess, I would have said there were perhaps 300 or so posts on the website, but definitely not 500. That’s a ridiculous number!

Having given it some thought, a round number like 500 deserves something special.

Today’s post is a request to readers for ideas on how to mark the occasion.

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Beau Miles. Source: Youtube

The guy in the image above is Beau MilesUniversity lecturer, filmaker, adventurer, “poly-jobist”.

When I need a break and I want something off beat, Beau’s Youtube channel is my usual first port of call. If you have never heard of him, I would recommend starting off gently with his Run the line video and then diving head first into the madness that is A mile an hour.

Beau is one of those “exploring the human experience” types and he films himself doing it. He’s a great story teller and his quirky adventures are always good viewing – like the time Steinbeck inspired him to eat his own body weigh in canned beans. Just beans. It took him 40 days (Click here for that video).

Source: Hedonistica

What does this have to do with Parkinson’s?

Continue reading “Administrative post: Approaching 500”