New threat to US stem cell research

On Monday, a US court announced a ruling against President Obama's decision to permit government funding of embryonic stem cell research.

When President Obama agreed to lift the restrictions banning government-funded stem cell research in March last year, stem cell scientists were jubilant. The extra government funding would help scientists further understand how embryonic stem cells could be used to treat conditions like Parkinson's.

Obama's predecessor George W Bush was strongly against the use of embryonic stem cells on ethical grounds, and banned their use.

Parkinson's UK has always supported research using all types of stem cells. These cells have the unique ability to transform into many other types of cells - including those lost as Parkinson's develops. They are like a blank canvas on which we can draw many different types of painting. For these reasons, we think they hold great potential for the future of Parkinson's treatments.

However, we're not yet sure which type of stem cells are the most useful in the search for a cure for Parkinson's. So it's vital that stem cell research continues to be funded here and in the US.

We're really fortunate to live in a country that listens to scientists and encourages this type of innovative research.

You can read about Parkinson's UK-funded researcher Richard Wade-Martins and his work with iPS stem cells on our website.

Share your views on stem cell research, both in the UK and elsewhere, below or email

Majestic staff show support for Parkinson's UK

Back in January, Majestic Wine announced Parkinson's UK as its Charity of the Year 2010.

As part of our year-long partnership, 10 Majestic members of staff will be running in the Marathon Du Médoc on 11 September this year.

The race is one of France's most renowned marathons, set amongst the famous Bordeaux châteaux and vineyards. The team is collecting sponsorship money and they hope to raise as much as possible for Parkinson's UK.

So far, Majestic Wine has raised over £20,000 for us through collection tins, a raffle, donations from wine purchases and recycling mobile phones, amongst other fundraising activities. So we're really pleased to see their fundraising efforts continue throughout the year.

Our work is totally dependent on voluntary donations and corporate partnerships are an important source of income for us. They're also an essential way for us to plan ahead and ensure financial security, as well as growing long-lasting relationships that help us work towards our 5-year fundraising target of £110 million.

The income generated is crucial - but the opportunity to raise our public profile and awareness of Parkinson’s throughout the UK and beyond is invaluable.

Have you thought of applying for a local business Charity of the Year or partnership? If you're a member of one of our local groups, would you like advice on how to attract corporate interest in the charity in your community? Share your experiences here or email

Help us improve your website

If you're reading this, you are one of many thousands worldwide who visit Parkinson's UK on the web each week. And we want to know what you think.

We're asking everyone who uses any of our online services to fill in our short survey to tell us how we're doing and more importantly what you'd like to see in the future.

We want to hear from people with Parkinson's, carers, families, friends, health and social care professionals, researchers, Parkinson's UK staff, journalists - anyone who has ever accessed or visited us on social media websites.

It's now ten years since we launched our very first website. Starting out with just a handful of pages, the website today provides over 2000 pages of Parkinson's-related news and information and is home to an active and supportive community in our discussion forum

In the past year we have seen our online communities develop further through our Facebook page and on Twitter - as people affected by Parkinson's get together to share support and information in much the same way many of our members have done for years through local branches and support groups

We've trawled back through the archives to find some pictures of the website as it looked throughout the past decade - and though some of the images are a bit patchy it's interesting to look back at its colourful past and see how far we have come.


2004 2007

We know we still have a lot to do. Your responses will help shape the next version of our website and the range of information and services we provide online for people affected by Parkinson's.

The survey runs till 22 September 2010. We look forward to hearing what you think

New RCN website speaks out against service cuts

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has launched an innovative new website, Frontline First, allowing nursing staff to speak out against cuts to jobs and services, expose waste in the NHS and suggest new ideas and solutions.

Through anonymous user contributions, the Frontline First site has created an interactive map of nursing services in the UK and Northern Ireland – so that both professionals and service users can literally see how services are being affected in their area.

This week we contributed a blog for their site, showing our support for Frontline First. The campaign's passionate belief in the importance of specialist nurses and how patient care is affected when cuts are made is certainly something we share.

Essential services like specialist nurses, therapists and respite care save money and make a huge difference to quality of life for people with Parkinson's. It's a false economy to cut services that help people stay independent and keep them out of hospital and care homes.

If you're a Parkinson's nurse or nursing professional who works with people with Parkinson's, then we would encourage you to submit your evidence on the Frontline First website.

Are you a person affected by Parkinson's who is already starting to see changes to Parkinson's services in your area? Share your experiences below.

Everyone can take action by signing our Fair Care for Parkinson’s petition too.