A London doctor is renewing his appeal to find black Parkinson’s Disease sufferers to help his pioneering research project into the illness.
People from the Afro-Caribbean* and Indian Sub-Continent** communities who have the disabling disease are being asked to volunteer for the study being funded by the leading medical research charity - Action Research.
Doctor K Ray Chaudhuri, at King’s College and Lewisham Hospitals, and Professor David Brooks at the Imperial College School of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital are co-ordinating a study which aims to discover why black people benefit less from the standard Parkinson’s drug treatment, levodopa.
The appeal by the doctor coincides with World Parkinson’s Disease Week set to take place from April 10. Dr Chaudhuri was pleased with the response from his last appeal in November 1998 when over 20 agreed to help with the project. However, more volunteers are needed to enable him to complete his studies.
Parkinson’s Disease affects one in 100 people over the age of 65 and causes tremor, stiffness and memory loss. As many black people are affected as white people but they are three times more likely to have a poor response to levodopa.
One of the best known sufferers of the disease is boxing legend Muhammed Ali.
Action Research Training Fellow, Dr Michele Hu says: "Although as many black people suffer from Parkinson’s Disease, the illness seems to progress at a different rate to that seen in white people. We are working with colleagues in Calcutta and Bombay and the outcome of this research could make a tremendous difference to the future treatment of these patients."
People are urgently needed to have specialised brain scans as well as blood tests for genetic studies at the Hammersmith Hospital, London. Travelling expenses can be paid. Anyone wanting more information should contact Dr Hu at King’s College Hospital on 0171 346 5319.
* This excludes people from African countries. ** This includes people from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Doctor Hu and Chaudhuri at King’s College hospital will be available for interview by arrangement. For further information please contact Victoria Heaton or Mike Deyes in the Action Research press office on 01403 327403/429.
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