A Hodgepodge – Part One

Or maybe it should be a Mish Mash? how about a Mashup? Anyway, this is a post of odds and ends I have been doing or reading about since my last post. We arrived home from Florida just in time to get caught up in the snow and ice and cold a couple of weeks ago and last week and this week so we are excited to leave soon for our regularly scheduled February beach visit.  While home we have kept up the exercise on the bike, walking the few days we could, and doing Tai Chi.  I purchased the DVD recommended by the National Parkinson’s Foundation and we have really enjoyed it.  The fluid movements seem to be helping with flexibility and balance and the QiGong warmup exercises stretch a few muscles I haven’t been using much this winter 🙂

I was excited to see the announcement last week that The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF), the Alzheimer’s Association (ALZ),and The W. Garfield Weston Foundation have joined together to announce a collaborative effort to stimulate analyses across the Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD) research enterprises.  This will build on recent evidence suggesting substantial overlap between AD, PD, and other neurodegenerative diseases pathologically, but also potentially biologically. They will be able to utilize two large biomarker databases, the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) and the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI), for new research ideas.  I hope this collaboration produces benefits for both PD and AZ current and potential patients.

Another collaboration recently announced was the formation of the Alliance of Independent Regional Parkinson Organizations (AIRPO).  AIRPO is a  consortium of regional independent nonprofit organizations, with the shared goals of finding a cure for Parkinson’s and supporting those who live with the disease. AIRPO aims to enrich programs available to the Parkinson’s disease community by encouraging collaboration, leveraging organizational strengths and maximizing efficiency among its founding member organizations, which include: Houston Area Parkinson Society,Michigan Parkinson Foundation, Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation, Parkinson Association of the Carolinas and Parkinson Association of the Rockies. The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation offers administrative support to AIRPO.

I belong to a ‘virtual’ support group site called Patients Like Me and one of the things they do is conduct research in connection with research groups.  Recently they started a study with the objective of being able to monitor disease progression over the phone.  I am a participant in the study and will be interested to see if it is possible.  So far I was required to fill out a survey then called an 800 number and followed the instructions to record a voice segment, quite similar to the test I received in Florida last month. More information about the study has been published here.

I also started a genetics for beginners online course at Udacity.com.  I have received the results of my DNA test from 23andme.com and decided I needed to increase my knowledge to fully understand the results.  The course has been challenging and I just finished the quiz for lessons 1 – 4 (they didn’t say there would be a quiz!) I like the instructors and the online format has been great, they have come a long way since the last online course I took back a decade or two ago.  Interesting stuff.

Well enough for this post, as the title suggests, there will be at least a Part Two which I hope to post before we leave for Florida on Friday so stay tuned.

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