World Parkinson’s Congress 2016 trip report – Portland, Oregon USA

Initially I was not too excited to attend the World Parkinson’s Congress 2016 (held every three years), thinking it would be mostly dull presentations about the latest drugs, patches, pumps and brain surgery – but boy, was I wrong! As the President-elect of the World Parkinson Coalition, Dr. Jon Stoessl, said: “In the clinic, we focus on what you (people with Parkinson’s) can’t do, but at this conference we see all the things you can do”. So there were presentations on yoga for PD, nutrition tips, boxing demonstrations (non contact), choir singing, dancing and many other events and activities.

The best part about a conference like this – meeting other people with PD from around the world! For example, there were long lines for coffee and registration – this was great because what else can you do other than talk to the people in front and behind – I made some great new friends this way including a couple from Canada who showed me some clever tricks with a wooden closet pole to improve physical posture.

One evening there was a music night hosted by the UK’s own David Sangster. Performers (all with PD) included poets, a choir from Mexico and Joe D’Urso who will play a gig here in Putney the end of November – here’s a taster:


The most popular roundtable discussion subject was about cannabis (legal in Oregon). Second most popular… “sex and PD”. Unfortunately both were fully booked before I got to the registration table.

So what were the takeaways from the World Parkinson’s Congress 2016? No big surprises, more reminders of what we all must do:

  • Movement, exercise – run, walk, jog, swim, cycle etc. Exercise that involves thinking – even better – like boxing, tango dancing, ping pong etc.
  • Nutrition – eat well, eat healthy and stay hydrated
  • Supplements – vitamin D seemed most popular
  • Yoga – physical benefits but also good for anxiety, apathy and depression

There’s lots more to share about this event, which I will do in upcoming blogs. Meanwhile, the next event will be in Kyoto Japan in 2019 – I can hardly wait.