The silver linings of Parkinson's disease
SourceNPJ Parkinson's Disease, 8, 1, (2022), article 21
Article / Letter to editor
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NPJ Parkinson's Disease
SubjectRadboudumc 3: Disorders of movement DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative condition, characterized by motor, non-motor disability, and a reduced quality of life. Stimulated by a question raised by a person with PD, we posted an orienting survey on social media, asking whether there is possibly any “silver lining” (an upside) to having PD. Most respondents identified one or more positive changes, mainly a new focus in life, better coping skills, new activities, healthier lifestyle, and improved relationships with relatives and friends. This ability to perceive a silver lining of disease is in line with the concept of adversarial growth in illness, and positive health, which underscores resilience, self-management, and the ability to adapt. Importantly, not every respondent identified an upside to living with PD, so this is very much an example of personalized medicine. This is a delicate, difficult issue, and discussing the presence of silver linings may feel counterintuitive. However, exploring this issue may help people with PD and caregivers to better deal with the disease, and allow medical professionals to provide better support, to learn about coping strategies, to understand the degree of disease acceptance, and to enhance a healthier lifestyle. Further research should demonstrate whether addressing silver linings may impact positively on the outcome of PD and on the perceived quality of life. To facilitate this process, we have adapted a pre-existing silver lining questionnaire (SLQ-38) in light of the responses provided by people with PD, to offer a simple, feasible tool to further explore this issue in clinical and research settings.
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