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Case study: Taking part in Parkinson’s Disease research: Sally's story

Taking part in Parkinson’s Disease research: Sally's story

Oxfordshire’s Sally Bromley is taking part in a study into the development of Parkinson’s Disease after being diagnosed in 2008.

Sally, 73, from Oxford, has been participating in the University of Oxford’s Targeting pathways to Parkinson’s study since it opened in 2010.

She said: “I had long been aware I had a shaking hand but it didn’t bother me so I didn’t worry about it until my daughter took me to see the doctor. I burst into tears when I was told. You think you’re ready for it but you’re never really ready for a horrid diagnosis.

“My right foot drags a bit and I don’t swing my arm when I walk. I find it very difficult to turn over in bed and I have anxiety and very vivid dreams. I can’t play the piano anymore because I’ve lost the dexterity in my hands and I’ve lost my singing voice. I studied music at college so it’s really quite a loss.”

The study involves visits to the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford every 18 months for tests and measurements, including blood tests, MRI scans, skin biopsies, walking examinations and memory tests to help researchers better understand how Parkinson’s develops.

Sally, a retired school teacher from Summertown, said: “When I heard that they could do this research, I just said ‘of course I’ll do it’ because I was just ecstatic. I was mesmerised by the research and the researcher because she was just so interesting.

“It was fascinating because it tells you a little bit about the condition you didn’t necessarily know. I think it’s really interesting and exciting to see these young people investigating Parkinson’s Disease so deeply. It’s really stimulating and heart-warming.”

Sally’s husband Jonathon also takes part in the study so findings from Parkinson’s patients can be compared to people who do not have the disease.

Sally said: “I think it’s a great help to know a bit more about your condition and what the tests are, how much time they involve, what they are seeking and where it fits in with the whole picture.”

The trial has so far recruited over 800 volunteers from Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes.

Patients are also encouraged to ask their doctor or health professional about research opportunities and view trials seeking volunteers at