Busting myths and misconceptions on World Parkinson’s Day

April 11, 2024

Our CEO Daniel McGowan took the opportunity to bust a few myths and misconceptions surrounding Parkinson’s disease on nationwide media on April 11 as part of our World Parkinson’s Day awareness push. With thanks to TVNZ and their evening news show Seven Sharp, Daniel shared the news about our new documentary, One in 37, and highlighted the world-class research happening here in Aotearoa. This includes research we at Cure Parkinson’s NZ are funding as part of a global effort to develop a cure, and as members of a coalition of non-profit organisations led by the Michael J Fox Foundation (which also includes our partners Cure Parkinson’s in the UK and Shake it Up Australia Foundation).

Among the myths and misconceptions surrounding this insidious disease that our documentary aimed to shatter was the commonly held misunderstanding that Parkinson’s only affects elderly, and mostly older Pākehā men. Our documentary poignantly demonstrates that Parkinson’s can, in fact, affect anyone. It’s on the rise, and the title reflects that scary lifetime risk statistic predicting that one in 37 people will receive a diagnosis. Another common misunderstanding is that it is treatable… while it is true that there are symptomatic treatments that work to alleviate symptoms for a period, there is no cure; no drugs exist that can stop the progression of disease over time, as it gradually robs people of their planned futures. The final misconception Daniel pointed out in the interview is that there is plenty of government funding for research into conditions like Parkinson’s. In fact, there is very little… perhaps surprising given the estimated economic impact of Parkinson’s in NZ of ~$600M p.a. Research relies on philanthropy, which is where Cure Parkinson’s NZ comes in, as a charity raising funds to support the researchers, allowing them to focus on the research rather than where the funding is coming from.

There is much reason for hope. The research is advancing rapidly and breakthroughs are on the horizon. A cure is not a case of if, but a matter of when. With your support we can accelerate these advances and make a cure a reality.

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