I am very honoured to have been invited to be Branch President for the Lincoln and District Branch of Parkinsons UK for 2017-18.
I have been working with members of the local group over the last 4 years investigating the control of eye movements in Parkinsons. This has been a long standing research interest off and on since my days as a post-doctoral research fellow at Charing Cross Hospital in London.
Our research has shown that there is a particular “marker” of Parkinsons in eye movements, namely “multi-stepping” or jerkiness of eye movements measurable under certain conditions with a computerised eye tracker. In other situations some people with Parkinsons appear to be slightly more distractable and not organise eye movements as efficiently as healthy people when carrying out problem solving and memory tasks.
The research has potential in the future to help in the early diagnosis of Parkinsons, the assessment of cognitive impairments in Parkinsons as well as helping people with Parkinsons understand the subtle ways in which the condition might affect them beyond the obvious symptoms seen in other sort of movement.
I’ve also observed that People with Parkinson are extra-ordinarily nice and generous people with an enthusiasm for research. I continue to do whatever I can in my own little way to go the extra mile (or 20!) to support them, so I was very pleased to accept the appointment as Branch President. I am looking forward to meeting established and new members at the Annual General Meeting next month in Bracebridge Heath and giving a short update on recent research.