Queen’s for Parkinson Kingston (QPK) held their second annual World Parkinson’s Day Event on April 9th, 2022. It was a full-day Zoom event consisting of a speaker panel with Queen’s University faculty members, a dance-inspired exercise class, and an origami session, with the ultimate goal of raising awareness for Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and uplifting the local Kingston Parkinson’s community.
The lovely spring morning began with a presentation by Dr. Ron Levy, a clinician-scientist at the Kingston General Hospital Research Institute, assistant professor at Queen’s University, and attending staff at Kingston General Hospital and Hotel Dieu Hospital. At the Kingston Health Science Center, Dr. Levy leads the functional and stereotactic neurosurgery program and performs deep brain stimulation, spinal cord stimulation, epilepsy surgery, and stereotactic procedures. Furthermore, Dr. Levy’s lab at Queen’s University investigates the motor and motor cognitive function of neurological disorders using acute and chronic electrophysiology, simultaneous stimulation and recording techniques, MRI, and novel device design. We are so grateful that Dr. Levy spoke to us about the incredible innovation that is deep brain stimulation and his research that aims to develop novel methods of electrical stimulation to improve the symptoms and modify the natural history of diseases such as PD.
The next event of the morning was a Dance for PD® exercise class led by Queen’s University student, Cassie Forzani. Students and community members were guided through research-based, creative, “gentle” movements, all while listening (and singing) to some great tunes - think Sound of Music! A big thank you to Cassie for leading such an amazing class.
The afternoon started off with a presentation by Dr. Susan Crocker, an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine at the Queen’s University School of Medicine and Director of the Cytogenetics at Kingston Health Sciences Centre in KGH. Dr. Crocker’s research is largely involved with the ever-important cytogenomics of neurological diseases. Dr. Crocker gave an insightful presentation on the cytogenomics of Parkinson’s Disease. Summary (provided by Dr. Crocker): Currently there is no definitive blood test for the accurate early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and related disorders and this may adversely impact the potential benefit of future therapies targeting the underlying pathobiology of these conditions. We will discuss a novel approach that is being studied to delineate subgroups within this spectrum of conditions. Capitalizing on our complementary expertise and convergent findings in PD genetics, brain and blood pathology, we study how genomic changes in PD present in the peripheral blood. This approach could significantly advance the ability to detect, diagnose and potentially monitor disease progression using principles that have been successfully used in other areas of cytogenomics.
Thank you Dr. Crocker for sharing your extensive knowledge and research with us!
To conclude the day, an origami season was led by QPK member, Irina Babayan. Participants got the chance to personalize and create their own tulips (the official symbol of PD) and butterflies - see image below! The atmosphere was fun and lighthearted and was a heartwarming way to bring the eventful day to a close. A special thanks to Irina for graciously leading the group to create some works of art!
Acknowledgements: We cannot express how grateful we are for everyone who helped make this World PD day event possible, including but not limited to the QPK team, everyone who participated in the event, and those who were instrumental in sharing our event with others. We hope that in addition to gaining insight on PD, participants were able to genuinely enjoy themselves. To stay up-to-date with our other PD initiatives throughout the year, please feel free to follow us on Facebook (@queensforpdkingston) or Instagram (@queensforpd.kingston). Until next year!