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Exhibition Featuring Paintings of Parkinson’s Patients Held at Rela Hospital

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Chennai: Shaking hands are not a hindrance to painting. Memory loss is not a hurdle to delivering motivational speeches. When the joy of life meets strokes of creativity, the world becomes a canvas waiting to be painted with beauty. Sending out these messages loud and clear were the paintings of 20-odd Parkinson’s patients at ‘Brushstrokes of Resilience’, a one-day art exhibition at Rela Hospital, which also featured inspiring speeches of the patients, and a musical expo.

Rela Hospital in association with Global art India organised the exhibition, and an arts workshop for the Parkinson’s patients the previous day, to highlight the therapeutic value of art in the integrated treatment of Parkinson’s disease, and to mark World Parkinson’s Day, which falls on April 11, 2023, annually. The hospital is also conducting a free medical camp for Parkinson’s patients from April 11-17, 2023.

Dr. J Radhakrishnan, IAS – Principal Secretary to Co-operation, Food and Consumer Protection Department, Government of Tamil Nadu, inaugurated the exhibition, in the presence of Ms. Pushpa Kandaswamy, Creative Producer & Managing Director, Kavithalayaa Productions, and Mr. Kandaswamy Bharathan, Joint Managing Director, Kavithalayaa Productions and an Adjunct Faculty at IIM-A, and Indian School of Business. Prof. Mohamed Rela, Chairman and Managing Director, Rela Hospital, presided over the function.

In his inaugural address, Dr. Radhakrishnan, said that creative pursuits can help patients overcome the limitations of Parkinson’s disease. Art in particular has been shown to have a positive impact on the physical, emotional and cognitive wellbeing of people with Parkinson’s disease. It helps improve fine motor skills, eye hand coordination, tremor control and provide a sense of accomplishment and purpose. I believe that events like art workshops and exhibitions can provide therapeutic relief by allowing the patients to express themselves artistically and unwind in a safe environment, while helping them rejuvenate, and improve their motor skills.”

In his address, Prof Mohamed Rela said, “Parkinson’s patients deserve to live a meaningful and independent life, and we are committed to helping them achieve their goals, finding better treatments and ultimately a cure. We believe in an integrated approach to treating Parkinson’s disease that takes into consideration the full spectrum of physical, communication, cognitive, mental, social, and emotional factors. Our healthcare services encompass the entire spectrum of interventions from medications, pump therapies, deep brain stimulation to rehabilitation programs. We hope that the exhibition and the workshop will go a long way in helping our patients pursue a creative life as a way to cope with the disease.”

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects movement. It is caused by loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain that leads to involuntary tremors or shaking of hands, stiffness of limbs, loss of volume in speech, and difficulty in walking and maintaining balance and coordination. Though there is no medical cure for Parkinson’s disease currently, engaging patients in creative activities such as painting can improve their motor skills, reduce depression and anxiety, and enhance the overall quality of life for people with this disease.

There are approximately 10 million people living with Parkinson’s disease globally, and this number is expected to double by 2040. In India, there are about 1 million people diagnosed with this disease. The incidence rate is around 50-100 per 100,000 people in the states like Tamil Nadu. Men are slightly more likely to develop Parkinson’s than women, and the disease is most commonly diagnosed in people over the age of 60. However, in recent times, the disease is on the rise even in the younger age groups. Some of the early signs of the disease include, change in handwriting, difficulty gripping footwear or loss of smell.

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