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Parkinson’s DiseasesTo Grow As Population Ages

Media Release 23 March 2004

Parkinson’s Diseases Set To Grow As Population Ages

The recently appointed chair of Parkinson’s Diseases at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Otago University, Professor Tim Anderson, says that with 80 new cases a year in Canterbury, and 1000 in total, the numbers with this condition will steadily increase in New Zealand. Many others suffer from tremor and other involuntary movement disorders.

Professor Anderson will be based at Van der Veer House, near the School, providing research and clinical services for people with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders. The Centre is due to open in May.

The Centre will also provide added stimulus for research into Parkinson’s Diseases. “Although we can do a lot for people with this condition we are still far from curing it,” he says. “The biggest breakthrough in medication occurred over three decades ago and this now means that people can live much better lives. But we need to make further progress and this can only come through research .”

Professor Anderson will be discussing “Parkinson’s, Tremor, and other Movement Disorders” at a public lecture as part of the Health Lecture Series on Wednesday March 24 at 7.30pm in the Rolleston Lecture Theatre. There will also be displays from the Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Society.

Professor Anderson says one of the interesting aspects of movement disorders is that Botox or botulinim toxin, a commercial drug which has attracted attention for use in beauty treatment, is also commonly used to control muscle spasm or Dystonia. He says the drug is one of two on the market and is effective in relaxing muscles and preventing spasms, which can limit people’s lifestyle as well as causing pain and embarrassment. Professor Anderson will explain how Botox works and will show videos of its effectiveness.

Professor Anderson will discuss diagnosis and treatment of the three main types of movement disorders; tremor, jerks and spasms. He will examine Parkinson’s Diseases and local research into understanding symptoms, and how appropriate treatment and medication enables people to live a normal life-span.

The free public lecture will also provide opportunities for questions and discussion.

ENDS

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