Lower Sixth Biology students Xanthia Woltjer and Joe Lee have been liaising with the Oxford branch of Parkinson’s UK, as part of their EPQ research.
Xanthia writes, “‘I had this amazing opportunity to meet Dr Simon Scott, author of the website scienceofparkinsons.com, who has been working in the field of Parkinson’s for over 15 years in both academia and biotech. He talked a lot about self-monitoring Parkinson’s but particularly about a new breath analysis therapy, a three year study in collaboration with other researchers including Dr Orna Barash.
“In Breath therapy, researchers isolate chemical compounds from breath samples so they can compare them with other biological samples collected from the same people (for example blood). They do this so that they can determine common features and patterns that could reveal new insights into the procedure of the condition. These chemical compounds that are isolated are called “Volatile Organic Compounds” (or VOCs). ‘These are organic chemicals that have a high vapour pressure at ordinary room temperature‘, and there are thousands of them everywhere. Simon’s job within this process is to collect the breath samples and send them off for research. Apart from talking about research and self-monitoring he also got patients at the meeting to evaluate some self-monitoring methods and some commented on their hesitations about the actual effect that self-monitoring has. We also got the opportunity to meet some members of the foundation, who themselves suffer from Parkinson’s disease and talked about how it is socially restrictive.”
Xanthia and Joe are both preparing to apply to medical school next academic year and their experiences with the Parkinson’s UK research will go towards research for their respective EPQs. Xanthia and Joe are seen here with Dr Simon Scott.