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Back from Portland–The 4th World Parkinson Congress (WPC)!

Portland Parkinson's Event!

4th World Parkinson Congress in Portland, Oregon, US!

Last week, over 4000 Parkinson’s advocates, patients, researchers, speech pathologists, neurologists, authors, those living with Parkinson’s, carepartners/caregivers, family and friends, and those interested in Parkinson’s disease all convened on the beautiful northwest city of Portland, Oregon. #WPC2016, an event only held every 3 years (next to be held in Kyoto Japan in 2019), assembled news makers, scientists, doctors, and patient experts who discussed the latest information in Parkinson’s.

Vendors spanning the globe brought the latest in equipment, tools, medicines and procedures, and therapies for improving the lives of those living with Parkinson’s.

Due to flight delays and adverse weather, my updates have been delayed, but watch for my next post for more pics and my talk with the Editor of the blog, The Shoe Maven, the fashionable and inspirational Tonya Walker, as well as some other observations from this wonderful event.

Here are some photos:

Sonia and a smaller Parky.

Sonia and a smaller Parky.

GLynis from New Zealand and me.

Dylis from New Zealand and me.

 

Saying "Hi" to Parky the Raccoon.

Saying “Hi” to Parky the Raccoon.

 

 

What a coast!

What a coast!

Great Parks!

Great Parks!

 

Five or More Questions with Polly Dawkins

Meet the people leading the Parkinson's organizations!

Meet the people leading the Parkinson’s organizations!

 

Introducing, Five or More…, a series leading up to the World Parkinson Congress 2016 in Portland–meet some of the Executive Directors and leaders in the Parkinson’s Community as they answer a range of some required questions and some optional: Polly Dawkins of The Davis Phinney Foundation, was kind to agree to go first.

Here are eight questions. Five of them are encouraged that you answer. The remaining three questions are your choice whether you want to provide an answer or not. Thank you for being the first to try this experiment!

I have known Polly since she started at The Davis Phinney Foundation and she has been a loyal follower of the blog.

Required questions:

Chinese, Thai, Italian, Mexican, or Ethiopian—what is your favorite cuisine?

Do I have to choose?  Love Asian food and my favorite is Japanese.  Since that’s not the on list…if it’s a great Mexican place (like the food in the Yucatan Peninsula), that’s the food I’d choose.  The spicier the better.  And, Thai would be a close second.

What do you like on your pizza?

Grilled fennel, roasted garlic and mushrooms on an olive oil and light cheese base, topped with fresh arugula and shaved parmesan.

Of the four seasons, which is your favorite time of the year?

Summertime is the only time of year for me.

How many World Parkinson Congress events have you attended?

Montreal was my first Congress and Portland will be my second.

What are you looking forward to most in Portland, (site of the WPC 2016)?

Meeting with members of the Parkinson’s community in person, seeing old friends with whom we have worked, creating new partnerships/collaborations in the community and spending time with the Davis Phinney Foundation Ambassadors.

Optional:

Tell us something about yourself that we might not know about you that you would like to share.

I have the best job ever.  You probably already knew that.   I love to swim and ride my bike.  You probably knew that, too.  Something new and different?   I love spending time in Latin America and speaking Spanish.

Where would you like to go, that you have never been before?

Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Norway (when it’s warm) and Botswana.

What is the Davis Phinney Foundation working on that you would like to tell us?

In addition to working on bringing The Victory Summit to Sacramento, New Orleans, SW Florida, Nashville, Durango and other locations yet to be announced, we are currently working on developing new content and launching a new website for the Davis Phinney Foundation, which should be up and ready by the time we’re all gathered together in Portland.

As well, we are really proud of the quality of life research we’ve funded and what that has meant in terms of changing the way people approach living with Parkinson’s.  As well, we are considering ways in which we can invest in quality of life research that have more direct impact on our programs and the Parkinson’s community as a whole.

Thanks again, Polly!

 

 

Viewing of Capturing Grace in DC!

Beautiful film!

Beautiful film!

Last night, I attended a viewing of Dave Iverson’s touching film Capturing Grace. The documentary chronicles the lives of a group of fellow Parkinsonians (Brooklyn Parkinson Group) and their transition into becoming dancers through the instruction of David Leventhal and the Mark Morris Dance Group. The film captures the indomitable spirit and drive of the group’s members and the rock solid bonds that unite them through the power of dance. The story leads from classes and rehearsals to the moving public performance that the group openly shares what they have learned and accomplished.

I was grateful to actually meet Mark Morris and David Leventhal and thank them for their contribution to the Parkinson’s world.

If you haven’t seen Capturing Grace or you want more information on dance and Parkinson’s, the Dance for PD model is one to strongly consider!


By the way, for you film directors and Hollywood hopefuls, don’t forget about the World Parkinson Congress’ video competition, now open for entry!

If you are an author with a book consider sharing it at the Book Nook event at the World Parkinson Congress in Portland! For more information on both of these exciting mediums, click here for more information about the 4th World Parkinson Congress.

Nutrition, health, and news to come from World Parkinson Congress (WPC) and the Brian Grant Foundation (BGF)

Nutrition in general is a vital component to our daily health and to someone with Parkinson’s, diet is even more crucial. Staying hydrated and eating the right fruits and vegetables will keep your digestion active to help avoid constipation. The better your gut is working, the more likely you are going to get top efficacy from your medications.

Summer color and flavor
Summer color and flavor

Eating local from Virginia farmer’s markets in spring and summer is a treat and is my healthiest alternative since I don’t grow my own food. When buying fruits and veggies that are shipped far distances it is easy to forget that produce that travels miles loses some of the nutritional potency as opposed to that of a local provider. Winter and fall is a bit more of challenge for me to eat local.

I noticed a tremor in my left foot at age 17 that only showed up sporadically. At age 23, and after about 9 or so different doctors, I finally got my diagnosis for Parkinson’s disease. It has been over 30 years since my first noticeable symptom and not far from 30 years from my diagnosis date. I truly believe that eating low on the food chain and eating vegetarian has helped me remain on a low dose of medicine.

If it is true that we are what we eat, and I do, then we need a greater awareness and more consideration for the fuel we load into our bodies. Food and food science has changed our diets dramatically with additives, emulsifiers, and sweeteners. I am careful to eat organic whenever possible. I eat healthy but there are times when my craving for a cookie or chip takes over and I have to submit to the urge. Overall, I stay aware of what I am eating and how it may interact with my medication. I am very protein sensitive and my medication can fluctuate tremendously when it comes to dairy, nuts, eggs, and soy.

Trying to find a product without high fructose corn sweetener, wheat, or citric acid, in a large conventional grocery store is more of a challenge these days. Understanding your food now requires knowing a little more chemistry than when I was a boy. Good nutrition is achievable but like most important health decisions a healthy diet takes preparation, planning, and forethought.

Eating healthy isn’t always the cheapest of ways to eat, so compromise and alternatives have to suffice at times. It is so important to read those labels and know what is in your food to make the best choice.

On a personal level, I have little doubt that my being a long-term vegetarian has been of benefit in my digestion and pill absorption as well. Eating lower on the food chain and eliminating meat products helped me maintain my weight, improve my energy level, clear my skin, and feel clearer of mind to boot.

As the 2016 World Parkinson Congress (WPC) nears its arrival to Portland, Oregon, also the home of the Brian Grant Foundation, I am excited to hint about a program that will soon be released. The Power Through Project (PTP) is something new and an event for everyone to take part in. Stay tuned for upcoming announcements. See you in Portland!

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