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Looking back

A new booklet catalogues the improvements that have been made in Parkinson's disease treatment in the last 10 years

A compendium aimed at raising the profile of Parkinson's disease (PD) and the advances made in the treatment of the disease over the last decade has been launched.

What a Decade Can Deliver: Narratives in Parkinson's Disease comprises a selection of tales from some of the UK's leading experts in the field, including neurologists, geriatricians, PD nurse specialists and GPs with a special interest in the disease, aimed at raising awareness of the progressive and chronic disease.

The book, sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), is aimed primarily at healthcare professionals in the PD community but has also been designed to provide patients with a positive retrospective review of PD over the last 10 years.

A number of copies were handed out at the European Federation of Neurological Societies congress in Glasgow on September 3. Other copies will be distributed as part of Parkinson's News magazine and the Parkinson's Disease Society (PDS) will be putting it on its website. In addition, the booklet, which also celebrates the 10th anniversary of the availability of GSK's ReQuip, will be given to reps to pass on to doctors.

Throughout the compendium, which details the advances in the management of medicine and services that have improved PD patients' quality of life, many contributors pay tribute to the key role that PD nurse specialists (PDNS) have played in the development of these services. PDNS' provide much-needed continuity of care for PD patients and are a vital link between primary and secondary care.

Prior to the introduction of PDNS, a community study revealed some very basic care was not being provided to PD patients and more than half of those suffering from the condition experienced difficulties with constipation, incontinence or sleep patterns.

What a Decade Can Deliver also highlights the improvement in patients suffering from severe side effects, such as dyskinesias (abnormal involuntary movements), much of which can be attributed to changes in prescribing habits, particularly the reduction in doses of L-dopa.

ìThere have been a number of exciting Parkinson's developments over the last 10 years and the compendium draws attention to a number of these,î said Steve Ford, chief executive of the PDS. As well as highlighting progress in treatments and management, the narratives show that there is still much more to do.î

While PDNS have helped many PD sufferers by being able to give them more patient-facing time and are likely to provide even greater support as a result of nurse prescribing, the PDS believes that there is still a need for more specialist nurses.

2nd September 2008

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