People with Parkinson's disease take up ping-pong to help symptoms

Doreen Brown was a keen runner before she was diagnosed with the condition but has taken up another sport to keep fit.

People with Parkinson’s disease take up ping-pong to help symptoms STV News

People living with Parkinson’s disease are taking up ping-pong to help their symptoms.

A community group in Perth have launched their own club after a six-month study in Japan found it helped people living with the condition maintain balance and develop better hand-eye coordination.

Doreen Brown was 50 years old when she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

She was a keen runner, regularly taking part in half marathons and 10K runs, but had to stop when she was diagnosed with the condition.

Doreen says she initially thought she might have had a brain tumour: “I went to the doctor because I had a tremor in my right hand, and they thought it might have been a brain tumour.

Doreen Brown has lived with Parkinson's disease for 15 years.

“But within a couple of days I was up at the PRI and they scanned me and I was told two days after that it wasn’t a brain tumour.

“Some days I am not so good. I can’t get out of my bed some days, some days I can’t walk and I take breathlessness attacks. I potter about at home or I crawl on the floor.

“But I manage, slowly but surely I get there and I have good friends and family who help me.”

Doreen has been living Parkinson’s for more than a decade, and is now playing ping-pong at the local club.

Dr Shinsuke Fujioka from Fukuoka University in Japan was one of the medics who led the six month study.

He said it was the first time sport had been looked at this way to help people with Parkinson’s.

Ping Pong Parkinson's in Perth has been running for a few months

He told STV News: “Some medication has been made available for people with Parkinson’s disease, but medication is not enough to maintain motor function and quality of life for people.

“Muscle weakness in advanced age and in the advanced stages is becoming an increasing problem for people with Parkinson’s disease. Physical activity is getting more attention.

“However, the most important this is if people can enjoy and keep the activity going.”

While there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, Doreen and others say playing ping-pong has helped their stability, hand-eye co-ordination and even reduced their tremors.

But Doreen does have a motto that helps her during the tougher days: “Parkinson’s lives with me, I don’t live with Parkinson’s.

“There are some days when Parkinson’s does take over, but they are few and far between and I just hope to carry on as long as I can.”

The group are hoping they can encourage more communities to set up their own ping-pong clubs.

More information about Parkinson’s disease can be found on the Parkinson’s UK website

More on