A new Colombian President with Parkinson's?

Now that our new Prime Minister has moved into Number 10, you may be missing all the election fever. Well, fear not - the leadership race is just hotting up in the South American republic of Colombia!

The front-runner, according to the latest polls, is the leader of their Green party, Antanas Mockus. A former maths professor and previous mayor of the Colombian capital Bogotá, Antanas has been responsible for stunts such as hiring 420 mime artists to mock drivers committing traffic offences and persuading more than 60,000 Bogotans to voluntarily pay an extra 10% in taxes.

But Antanas' unusual approach to politics seems to be working and if he wins the election this Sunday he will make history. Not only will he be the world's first ever Green head of state but also the first to be elected after being diagnosed with Parkinson's.

So, with a matter of days until Colombians go to the polls, the rest of the world waits to see whether Antanas Mockus' adoring public will follow their hearts and make history.

How would you feel about electing a Prime Minister with Parkinson's? Have you continued to work yourself after being diagnosed?

Let us know your thoughts and inspiring stories which, like Antanas Mockus' obvious zest for live, show that life doesn't have to stop after a Parkinson's diagnosis.

Puppy love brings health benefits for Parkinson's

Now that the warm weather has finally arrived, and our countryside is full of bluebells and spring flowers, it's time to reap the benefits of exercise in our great outdoors.

We know how exercise can benefit people with Parkinson's. It can help control symptoms, it's great for building confidence, and the social aspects of meeting like-minded people can make a huge difference.

The benefits of pet ownership are also well known, and The Sun last week reported on how having a dog has made a big difference to one young woman living with Parkinson’s, who noticed improvements in day to day activities like walking and sleeping. She also felt less depressed.

One theory is that the responsibility of looking after the dog and the exercise involved may have had an effect on stimulating dopamine. Dopamine producing nerve cells are lost when Parkinson’s develops. Amanda with her dog Benji

After the Sun ran its story, our Communications team received an excited call from Parkinson’s UK member Amanda Osborne who said “that’s me and Benji they are talking about!”

Right: Amanda with dog Benji

Amanda went on to say that Benji had really changed her life for the better.

Has your four-legged friend has made a difference to your life with Parkinson’s? We’d like to hear your stories.

2010 General election result

What a dramatic week for politics!

With the first formal coalition Government for 70 years, it's clear just how important our campaigning work will be, at a time when funding is so tight.

We've been campaigning on our 3 Pledges for Parkinson's manifesto, calling on the new Government to act on things that people with Parkinson's say are priorities and make economic sense.

Parkinson's UK wants everyone affected to get the right health and social care, no matter where they live. We want people with Parkinson's to have the financial support they need. And we want long-term investments in neurological research, to help us find better treatments and a cure.

Our local groups have been campaigning throughout the election, inviting their local candidates to meet with them, and asking them to sign up to our pledges.

Of the 220 parliamentary candidates who signed up, 40 were elected and many will be playing a part in the coalition. We'll be working hard to make sure the new Government sees the value in protecting Parkinson's services like specialist nurses and funding for medical research, which save money and help people stay independent.

Please join our campaigns network, to get updates on the campaign and how you can help, and let us know below about any contact you’ve had with your local MP.

Parkinson's Awareness Week 2010 - In Pictures

We've been getting loads of photos in from events all over the UK, from Parkinson's Awareness Week 2010.

See below for some of them, and thanks to everyone who took part in the week.

And if you have any nice pictures of your event, please send them in to us at pr@parkinsons.org.uk or add them to our Flickr group

Bexley and Dartford Branch's information stand

Jo Close (in Parkinson's UK t-shirt) who had a cake sale at work and a collection

Cheering our runners at the London Marathon

A Party for Parkinson's in Stockton on Tees

Marian Dent at her coffee morning and 'bring and buy'

Andy Hannath running for us at the London Marathon

A tea and shortcake evening in Dumfries with a talk from a Sahara trekker - hence the African band

Pedal power for Parkinson's

Professor Bloem, a neurologist in the Netherlands, recently reported on a gentleman with Parkinson's who is unable to walk without shuffling and freezing but rides his bike for miles every day. Astounded, Professor Bloem spoke to other people with Parkinson’s and found they could all cycle too.

Videos of the man trying to walk and then riding his bike appeared online in The New England Journal of Medicine and have created quite a stir amongst Parkinson's researchers.

What we don't understand is why when walking is such a challenge, cycling can be a breeze. One theory is that cycling uses different parts of the brain to walking that are not as severely affected in Parkinson's. Figuring out what is going on inside peoples' brains whilst they are cycling could help us understand how we organise and perform movements - which could lead to better treatments and therapies.

And we've been hearing from you too - like Tony whose walking is becoming more difficult, but feels much more confident when he's on his tricycle - you can watch Tony on his trike and the local group go companion cycling

Are you a keen cyclist like Tony or have you found other ways to get out and about? Please share your experiences below or email research@parkinsons.org.uk