Woohoo! I have applied to be an “official blogger” for the World Parkinson’s Congress (WPC) coming up in Portland, Oregon in September, 2016. In return for making me sound, gosh, kind of official, I write a couple blogposts a year about WPC. This is an easy requirement — I am enthusiastic about this conference.
The WPC is a global gathering of the top Parkinson’s researchers, plus people from all over the world living with Parkinson’s, caregivers, and many others involved in battling Parkinson’s. It’s held every three years and this is the fourth one. I went to the Montreal WPC in 2013, and it was a great experience. I wrote several posts, including a summary of knowledge nuggets I learned.
So, here are ten reasons why you should attend the 2016 WPC conference:
- You will definitely learn more about Parkinson’s. I took a “Parkinson’s 101” all-day course before the conference, plus I picked up a lot of new information during the many presentations in the conference
- You may learn that something wicked is actually good for Parkinson’s. WPC has hundreds of research posters, frequently accompanied by the researcher you can ask about the research. While perusing the research posters in Montreal, I met a researcher from Stanford who had found nicotine caused a reduction in L-dopa-induced dyskinesias — hey, smoking is good for you! (No, let’s please not take up tobacco.) This time around, I am hoping for research that proves regular consumption of hot fudge sundaes reduces PD tremors.
- You may learn that something fun is actually good for Parkinson’s. I took a tango lesson in 2013.
- Seriously, you will learn A LOT about the latest PD research. The top brains were there in 2013, giving presentations on everything from the placebo effect to alphasynuclein to why it takes years to bring new drugs to market.
- You may engage in a guerilla action! I participated in a flash mob, singing with a chorus of fellow Parkis, to prove we were not going to quietly suffer. Check us out on YouTube!
You will meet people from all over the world. In 2013, our Canadian hosts set up attendees with Canadian buddies who were at about the same stage of PD. That’s how I met Diane from British Columbia; we had a great time together during the conference and corresponded afterwards.
- You may make some unexpected connections. Through an inspirational speaker, Peter Davison, from the Canadian Maritimes, I was connected months later with my fellow official WPC blogger, Natasha McCarthy of Prince Edward Island. I also participated in a research project led by a Chinese woman I met, and informed a researcher from Ecuador about a South American PD research coalition originating in Seattle .
- You will likely hear some great inspirational speakers. I think the astronaut who went into outer space AFTER his PD diagnosis was my personal favorite in 2013.
- You may eat some colorful local cuisine. Poutine was offered by formally dressed waitstaff at the fancy opening reception in Montreal. I’m not sure what qualifies as colorful local cuisine in Portland…hmmm…free-range, gluten-free granola?
- And speaking of the culinary delights of Portland, with over 80 craft breweries in greater Portland, it is the largest craft beer market in the country. Let’s drink to attending the 2016 WPC!