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Remembering Glasgow: Report on the 2nd World Parkinson Congress

Jean Burns

By Jean Burns

The 2nd World Parkinson Congress (WPC), which took place in Glasgow, Scotland in late September 2010, is now over.  I worked and waited and dreamed about attending this event for a long time.  Now in a blur, it has passed.  Our Scottish hosts were terrific.  They were universally kind and helpful. 


 For me, the WPC was all about the people, including:

  • Pamela Quinn and others around the world who created videos about Parkinson's disease; 
  • The 600 plus people represented by the Parkinson’s Quilt.  The quilts have become living statements from participants from around the world.  What an amazing achievement and tribute by all involved!
  • People with Parkinson’s, who were all around the conference: attending scientific talks, listening to poster presentations, sharing personal stories, studying the quilt pieces, viewing the videos, meeting for dinner and forming friendships and alliances.  And personally, the people from around the world who came up to tell me how much means to them.  How incredible is that?
  • Tom Isaacs, a person with PD and founder of the Cure Parkinson’s Trust, was seemingly everywhere, giving brilliant presentations peppered with humor.  One of his recurring themes was patient advocacy: “Include us (patients) as partners; we have valuable experiences and information to contribute!”
  • Bryn Williams, also living with PD, the founder of Wobbly Williams.  He spoke at the welcoming ceremony and his moving words touched us all.  Quoting Bryn:

Now is the time to bring our urgency to bear and deliver a future of hope for the victims of this disease. Now is the time for a steady hand, a strong voice, and a keen sense of smell for the opportunities that await us.  A steady hand.  A strong voice.  A keen sense of smell.  I had them once.  I want them back.

So do I, Bryn, so do I.

Jean Burns, pictured below, is a person living with PD who hails from Arizona.  She is co-founder of, and served on the Communications Committee for the 2nd WPC and on the Advisory Committee for PDF’s Parkinson’s Quilt.

Highlights from the WPC

  • The WPC brings together people living with Parkinson's, care partners, researchers, clinicians and health care professionals to create a worldwide dialogue that will help expedite the discovery of a cure and best treatment practices for Parkinson's disease.
  • “All of us … working to fight the devastating effects of this disease … learning, exchanging views, questioning and pushing the agenda forward.”
    ~ Diane Cook (CRLI ‘09)
  • The WPC included 40 sessions on science and quality of life, including topics such as genetics, new treatments, nonmotor symptoms and more.
  • 15 PDF research advocates attended the WPC, eight presented posters, six reported on the blog, and one (Pam Quinn), won the video competition.  Watch: (click Favorites)
  • WPC science updates from Dr. Beck: “mutations in the GBA gene may actually contribute to an increase in the levels of alpha-synuclein in nerve cells.” Read more:
  • The Parkinson's Quilt was first displayed at the WPC.  View the panels above and 600 others by visiting


Save the Dates!

3rd World Parkinson Congress ~ Montreal, Canada ~ October 1 – 4, 2013