Inspiring ParkinsonNet congress

Last Friday, more than 600 health professionals attended the regional ParkinsonNet congress in Zwolle.

This inspiring congress was organized on behalf of ParkinsonNet, an association for professionals involved in the care for PD. Elien Steendam, physician assistant and PhD student at the UMCG, was part of the organizing committee.

During the morning sessions, new developments in the care for Parkinson’s disease were discussed. Professor Van Laar gave an excellent overview of last year’s scientific highlights and touched upon a selection of research projects that are currently performed in the UMCG. Another exciting project was presented by professor Bas Bloem, who is one of the initiators of ParkinsonNet. Professor Bloem spoke about ‘Parkinson op Maat’, a large-scale project in which the Radboud University Nijmegen collaborates with Verily (Alphabet Inc.'s research organization) to extensively study the phenotypes of 650 patients with Parkinson’s disease. After these inspiring talks, the pop band Stuck Herry from Groningen played a selection of uplifting songs from the 1960’s. Although the band had selected only songs by artists who died because of chronic disease or drug abuse, the music was energetic and the stories behind each song were touching.

During the lunch break, visitors were invited to an information market at which several organizations had a stand. At one of these booths, a group of PhD students from the UMCG presented their research projects on Parkinson’s disease. Interested visitors were offered a brochure covering all ongoing projects.

In the afternoon, a wide range of different workshops were scheduled. During these interactive sessions, attendees with different professional backgrounds got the chance to learn from each other’s experience in the care for Parkinson’s patients. After the workshops, the band Stuck Herry gave another astonishing show. Sport psychologist Rico Schuijers ended the congress with an inspiring talk on ways to motivate patients with a chronic disease.