University physio lands landmark fellowship for Parkinson’s research

A physiotherapy lecturer has been awarded a fully-funded PhD fellowship from the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist Office (CSO) and Parkinson’s UK, to further her work on exercise provision for people living with the condition.

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RGU physiotherapy lecturer Julie Jones. Photo: RGU

Julie Jones, a senior lecturer at Robert Gordon University, has been awarded around £250,000 for the clinical academic fellowship.

The funding will allow Ms Jones to take a sabbatical from teaching and focus on her PhD full-time for the next three years, as she works to revolutionise patient care.

She said: 'There is much evidence that engaging in regular exercise has numerous benefits for Parkinson’s management – not solely as complementary to medication, but of equal importance.

'Exercise is clearly beneficial from a physical perspective, but there is a growing consensus that is leads to physiological changes within the brain that may have a disease modifying effect.'

As part of her work, Ms Jones will be training physiotherapists, alongside exercise coaches at RGU SPORT, on behavioural change and strategies to support people with Parkinson’s participate in the management of their condition.

This will lead to a feasibility study where a number of people living with Parkinson’s will track their own progress at RGU SPORT, while also examining the benefits of the additional social aspect of their treatment.

Ms Jones added: 'If this study proves successful and the participants show real progress having embedded exercise in their daily life, this approach could be rolled out wider across the NHS. By working directly with patients and the professionals who can best support them, we can make a real difference on the lives of people living with Parkinson’s.'

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by Gary Henson

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