My first impressions of a DRIG steering committee meeting

Last week I met a fascinating group of committed individuals working together to address their future relationship with Parkinson’s Disease (PD): powerful people with Parkinson’s (PwP) raising money, organizing really relevant information meetings for PwP; loving partners of people with Parkinson’s learning more about how to support them; and talented scientists breaking down the barriers to understanding how this disease works.  

This was a meeting of the Steering Group of the Dundee Research Interest Group. If you have, or know someone who has, Parkinson’s this website will be an important link for you to exciting and encouraging news and information about what this group does and can offer you.  The DRIG works under the umbrella of the Parkinson’s UK organisation.

There are also local members of Parkinson’s UK on the Steering Group, bringing their shared knowledge of what is going on around the UK and in different groups locally, some of which are also represented in the group, eg the chairman of Parkinson’s UK Fife Branch.

My husband was diagnosed over 2 years ago, but we were reticent to join a group – it is a difficult decision, do you really want to surround yourself with other PwP and spend time talking about it, wouldn’t it be easier to try to forget about it and get on with life?  

From one meeting of this group I have learned a lot about what is going on in the research field (admittedly I was starting from zero!).  Two young research students who had summer placements supported by the DRIG, with Dr Sammler in Dundee, joined the meeting. They were able to share their research findings in a way that allowed a non-scientist to get some idea of what they had been doing and the progress that is being made in identifying triggers of the disease.  

Unlike us, my parents (Dad was diagnosed about the same time as my husband) have been making great use of Parkinson’s groups, in Peebles, at the dance Hub and boxing, and with the Edinburgh local group.  I now feel that sharing information about symptoms, drugs, side effects, what helps, what hinders can only be a good thing and learning about the research is encouraging for both PwPs and their families.

The next public meeting will take place on Saturday 8th February in the Life Sciences building at Dundee University on the all-important topic of Exercise and Parkinson’s.  For more details, or to be added to the DRIG mailing list, please contact the Secretary, Werner Remmele. Hope to see you there!

Jo Goodburn 11th December 2019