Time to focus on Parkinson’s disease

 

Sir, – Gary Boyle (Letters, April, 9th) rightly and justly airs his frustration at the paucity of active and regular availability of appropriate therapeutic treatments for his neuro-degenerative condition of early-onset Parkinson’s disease.

He highlights that physiotherapy and speech therapy are particularly beneficial for him, but “unfortunately these services are not widely available”.

Such a lament could easily resonate for many people living with any one of a variety of neurological conditions. This is a healthcare zone where creative and clinically valuable beneficial options are widely unavailable, due to minimal motivation from healthcare teams to acknowledge their obvious benefit.

Let’s hope the Dáil “outing” to highlight the plight of those with Parkinson’s disease pays some deserved dividends.

One therapy which also has a valuable role in neurological health management, yet is continually spurned as an option is clinical music therapy. It is well known that the rhythmic, textural, melodic and harmonic patterns inherent in music soundscapes can be of very significant value in addressing the motor-neuronal control, speech intonation/articulation as well as emotional lability associated with these conditions.

Clinical music therapy is delivered by a trained music therapist who works in tandem with other health professionals to maximise management and/or rehabilitation of neurological issues.

Sadly, as Gary Boyle concludes, the therapies and treatments which could ameliorate his condition are simply either unavailable or in paltry supply.

His concluding exasperated plea to the Minister of Health sounds like that of many others who continually and valiantly grapple with the incumbent healthcare service model of shortage and neglect: “Save us from travelling abroad for treatment and please, help us with our funding challenges.” A plea which always seems to fall on deaf ears. Yours etc,

JIM COSGROVE,

Senior Music Therapist,

Lismore, Co Waterford.