Iain Gray MSP joined Parkinson’s UK supporters from East Lothian at a Holyrood event to meet researchers funded by the charity and people affected by the condition to find out more about the charity’s groundbreaking work to improve lives and find a cure for Parkinson’s.
10,000 people in Scotland have Parkinson’s – about 1 in every 500 people. The brain condition currently has no cure. Parkinson’s UK is Europe’s biggest charity funder of research into the condition, and has already invested more than £60million. The charity has £5million committed to research taking place in Scotland.
Mr Gray met Dr Tilo Kunath from the University of Edinburgh, who is using stem cells from people with Parkinson’s to understand more about the condition and develop new treatments. The work of Dr Kunath and other Parkinson’s researchers is supported by the fundraising activity of the East Lothian Support Group of Parkinson’s UK, which is very active in the county.
Iain Gray MSP said:
“I welcomed this opportunity to receive an update on the groundbreaking research that Parkinson’s UK is funding. It has a first class research programme and has helped to make important discoveries that have contributed to greater understanding of the condition and more effective treatments.
“However, this research would simply not be possible without the tireless efforts of local Parkinson’s groups, including the East Lothian Support Group. Its members work incredibly hard to raise vital funds, as well as promote awareness of Parkinson’s and provide essential support to people in East Lothian affected by the condition.”
Katherine Crawford, Scotland Director of Parkinson’s UK, said:
“We were proud to be able to showcase our approach to research at such a lively event. We were delighted that our funded researchers were so prepared to give up their time to spread the word about their work, and to see so many people with Parkinson’s and carers from throughout Scotland were able to convey their passion and knowledge about research.
“Scotland’s universities are doing an increasing amount of research into neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s, MS and Motor Neurone Disease, and Parkinson’s UK wants to be at the centre of these developments both in Scotland, the UK and worldwide.”
Scotland is a major centre for global health research. It is the first country in the world in terms of its ratio of research citations to GDP. It is ranked fourth in the world for impact in clinical medicine and first for stem cell research. Medical research charities spend about 13% of their total funding on research in Scotland – yet Scotland has only 8% of the UK population.