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[back] Marking World Parkinson Day The Star - 9 April 2008

Marking PD day

WORLD Parkinson's Day is celebrated on April 11, the birthday of Sir James Parkinson who discovered the ailment.

PD occurs when certain nerve cells (neurons) in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra die or become impaired. These cells produce a vital chemical known as dopamine which allows the smooth, co-ordinated function of the body's muscles and movement.

As PD affects both the physical and emotional well-being of patients, there is a need to acknowledge the presence of the disease and continue with the daily routine of life. A positive spirit is vital for patients to overcome low self-esteem that results from disabilities that eventually set in. While caregivers play an important role in caring and facilitating the needs of PD patients, they themselves need to take charge in order to have a decent quality of life.

The Malaysian Parkinson's Disease Association (MPDA) will celebrate World Parkinson's Day this Saturday at Padang Astaka, Section 14, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. This year's theme is Living with Parkinson's Disease - Cultivating a Soaring Spirit.

Activities lined up for the event from 8am to noon include line dancing, magic shows and singing sessions. The highlight will be hot air balloon rides, providing patients the opportunity to try new experiences.

MPDA has 600 members consisting of patients, caregivers and volunteers. Among its activities are: monthly support group meetings which incorporate medical and healthcare talks; telephone counselling; lectures at Pantai Medical Centre (Jalan Pantai Baru, Kuala Lumpur); physical exercises such as taichi and qigong; demonstration/practice in physiotherapy and occupational therapy; and outdoor trips. Its quarterly Berita

Parkinson informs members on new developments in the management of PD. It also runs the Parkinson Centre (35, Jalan Nyaman 10, Happy Garden, Kuala Lumpur) to provide a venue for patients and caregivers to share experience and knowledge. The centre has a gymnasium for patients to undergo physiotherapy and rehabilitation, as well as a library. Activities such as vocal training, exercises and handicraft programmes are conducted for the well-being of patients. The centre is funded by donations.

For more information, call 03-7980 6685 or go to www.mpda.org.my.