APDA’s Leslie Chambers among an exhibit of 15,000 folded paper cranes (a Japanese tradition) – at WPC!

2019 World Parkinson Congress Highlights: A world away, but so close together

No matter where we find ourselves – at home in our headquarters office in New York, at one of our APDA Chapter events in Oklahoma or Wisconsin, at an industry event in California, or all the way across the globe at the World Parkinson Congress (WPC) in Japan – everywhere we go, we are connecting with people who care so passionately about helping people living with PD. At the 5th annual WPC this spring, it was thrilling to meet so many people from around the world who agree wholeheartedly with our mission and are living and breathing it every day in their own local communities.

 Cutting-Edge Research

A big part of WPC is centered about sharing the latest in PD research. Experts from around the world shared their research results and insights on many topics including (but certainly not limited to):

  • Personalized medicine for PD – and the development of different therapies for different types of PD
  • PD pathology starting outside the brain
  • The biology of Alpha synuclein
  • The importance of participation in clinical trials, and the challenges of recruiting patients
  • Advances in stem cell therapy for PD
  • Discovering new genetic contributors to PD
  • Wearable devices to monitor PD New exercise approaches to optimize PD symptoms
Rosa Peña presents her APDA poster at WPC

 APDA was among the experts sharing knowledge. We were proud to have several posters on display throughout the conference. Rosa Peña, MSW, APDA’s Senior Director of Programs and Services Field Operations, presented a poster on entitled Parkinson’s Roadmap for Education and Support Services (PRESS)TM – A How-to for Developing Early Coping Skills that highlighted the success of our signature PRESS program; and Cathi Thomas, MS, RN, CNRN, from our APDA Massachusetts Chapter and Information & Referral Center presented two posters, along with her colleagues from Boston University School of Medicine, on Service-learning as an introduction to Parkinson’s disease for pre-clinical medical students and Providing education and support for newly diagnosed patients and families in the community. 

Why should you care about a conference on the other side of the world?

At WPC doctors and researchers from all over the globe shared their learnings. They discussed trends in research, advancements in care, problems still to solve. Patients got to hear firsthand about the work being done to help understand this disease. Some inspiring people presented about life with PD, addressing the surprising benefits as well as the frustrating losses. Whenever you bring together the brightest scientists and most determined advocates, no matter where they are from, you’re going to have an incredible sharing of ideas and a collective energy that can only help move things forward for the PD community.

Our team representing APDA in Japan

The most meaningful exchanges for the APDA team are always the ones we have with people living with PD. The people who face the challenges PD brings them every day, but who are determined not to give up. The care partners who no matter how exhausted or scared, remain the biggest cheerleaders and fiercest advocates. It is those moments that remind us so clearly why our work is so important.

We returned home more committed than ever to our mission.