Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Understanding more about Parkinson’s disease

Understanding more about Parkinson’s disease

People with Parkinson’s disease often suffer hypomimia, more commonly known as facial masking.

It’s a lack of mobility of the facial muscles and is one of the lesser acknowledged symptoms of the disease.

Waikato University psychology student Adrienne Wootton is studying facial masking for her PhD and would like to talk to people with the disease, their carers or other people they are close to.

“It’s speculatated that masking is linked into the key neuropathology of the disease. There is a reduction in a neurotransmitter called dopamine which is essential for muscle movement,” says Adrienne. “But there is little information available about masking - I can only find a small number of articles internationally.”

Adrienne says her doctoral research aims to find out about the impact facial masking has on people with Parkinson’s disease and people with whom they have a close relationship, be it spouse, family member or close friend.

“I want to find out how people are coping, what their needs and concerns are and what they might need in the way of help,” says Adrienne.

In the first phase of her study, Adrienne would like to interview up to a dozen people with Parkinson’s disease and the same number of carers or close associates. With the information she gathers she will then go on to identify interventions to mitigate the psychological and social impacts of masking and
determine how valuable those interventions might be.

“It’s important that we accurately address the needs and strengths of patients and families because there is currently no effective cure or treatment for Parkinson’s, but the challenges of the disease can go on for a long time.

“What we do know is that those with Parkinson’s still experience emotions, but masking prevents them displaying them and that can lead to misunderstandings or miscommunication, so I’m hoping my study will bring deeper understanding about the subject and assist patients and their families to cope better.”

Adrienne hopes too that her research will bring recognition to the multi-faceted needs and experience of individuals who have neurodegenerative conditions, and provide suggestions or guidance for future masking-based research and interventions.

Her study is supported by a Bryant Trust Postgraduate Research Scholarship and a Waikato University doctoral scholarship.

Anyone interested in participating in Adrienne’s study can contact her at or 020 4727 546.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Trade & Retail: Chinese Disaster Spells Quiet Season For NZ Fireworks Sales

In August, two massive explosions at a warehouse at the port in the port of Tianjin, Northern China, killing more than a hundred people and devastating large areas of the city. In the wake of the disaster, Chinese authorities rushed to regulate the distribution of all dangerous goods... More>>



Oceans: NOAA Declares Third Ever Global Coral Bleaching Event

As record ocean temperatures cause widespread coral bleaching across Hawaii, NOAA scientists confirm the same stressful conditions are expanding to the Caribbean and may last into the new year, prompting the declaration of the third global coral bleaching event ever on record. More>>

Scoop Business: A Decade Of Government Pre-Seed Investment

More publicly-funded science is being commercialised after a decade of government ‘pre-see’d investment, according to an independent review. More>>


Solid Energy: Plan To Shut Unprofitable Huntly East Mine

Solid Energy, the state-owned coal miner in voluntary administration, plans to shut down its unprofitable Huntly East mine and lay off 65 staff after deciding the site stands "no chance whatsoever" of finding a buyer. More>>


E Tū: Merger Creates NZ's Biggest Private Sector Union

E tū has been created by the merger of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union and Service and Food Workers’ Union. It represents more than 50,000 working New Zealanders in industries as diverse as aviation, construction, journalism, food manufacturing, mining and cleaning. More>>


Internet: NZ Govt Lifts Target Speeds For Rural Broadband

The government has lifted its expectations on faster broadband speeds for rural New Zealand as it targets increased spending on research and development in the country's information and communications technology sector, which it sees as a key driver for export growth. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news