Malaysia sent the largest number of delegates to the 4th World Parkinson Congress held in Portland, Oregon, USA for four days in September. The 23 Malaysians consisted of Perak Parkinson’s Association committee members, people with Parkinson’s, caregivers, doctors, pharmacists and speech therapists. It was made possible via generous grants from Chemical Company of Malaysia Berhad and IJM Berhad.
World Parkinson Congress is the only Parkinson’s conference to draw together people with Parkinson’s, researchers and clinical experts. The mission of the triennial worldwide dialogue is to provide an international forum to learn about the latest scientific discoveries, medical practices, caregiver initiatives and advocacy works related to Parkinson’s disease.
“Some of the new discoveries presented at the congress included the use of embryonic stem cells in the treatment of Parkinson’s where clinical trials are currently ongoing,” said Samuel Ng, president of Perak Parkinson’s Association cum ambassador of the World Parkinson Congress during a press conference on Wednesday, November 2 at its centre.
Attended by over 4600 people from over 67 countries, the Malaysian delegates participated in the poster exhibition, roundtable session, opening and closing ceremonies of the world congress. For those who did not attend, the presentation slides of the talks from the World Parkinson Congress may be downloaded from http://www.wpc2016.org/.
“Attending the world congress for the first time, it’s an eye opener for everyone and we learnt a lot. My future plan is to organise a congress like this but on a smaller-scale, in Malaysia next year,” said Samuel.
There are over a thousand Parkinson sufferers in Perak. Most of them are not properly diagnosed, ill-informed and, perhaps, are unaware of it.
“There’s a misconception that Parkinson’s disease is due to old age. It’s not. I got it at the age of 42 and the youngest patient I met is just two years old. A lot of people thought that once they got the disease, it’s the end and they have to stay at home. It’s not, we still have a life,” Samuel added.
Parkinson’s disease is incurable and unpreventable. A lot of them are young patients and the disease worsens with age. However, it can be managed and there is medication to relieve the symptoms.
“The World Parkinson Congress gave us an insight in terms of the non-medical aspect in managing people with Parkinson’s. This is something lacking in our nation as we’re so focused on drugs for treatment. The first-line treatment is drug but then all drugs come with complications. To have an insight of the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s, you’ve to go outside drug treatment as well, like exercising and yoga which has been implemented in other countries,” Associate Professor Dr Halimatus Sakdiah Minhat, public health medicine specialist from Universiti Putra Malaysia remarked.
“There’s no proper studies for the prevalence of Parkinson’s disease in Malaysia. In the clinic, a lot of them are misdiagnosed. Out of four patients referred to us, one is misdiagnosed,” Dr Hakimah Sallehuddin, internal medicine specialist from Universiti Putra Malaysia added.
Established in 2013, the Perak Parkinson’s Association is dedicated to the support of people with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers. For those keen on knowing more here are the association’s details:Addr: No 128, Jalan Hala Wah Keong, Taman Mirindy, 31400 Ipoh, Perak. Tel: 05 545 5610 Facebook page: Perak Parkinson’s Association