Kurt Gagel Funds a Major Research Project
Assessing the Effects of Exercise on Parkinson’s Disease
Mr. Kurt Gagel has donated $3 million to the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Institute.
Gagel’s donation will fund a five-year research project to determine the effects exercise may hold in both preventing and easing the burden of Parkinson’s.
The research team, at the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre, will be led by Dr. Jon Stoessl, head of the UBC division of neurology and former director of the Centre.
New evidence suggests that exercise may relieve both motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s and that it may even be associated with a lower risk of developing the disease and slowing its progression. The study will determine whether exercise alters brain activity as well as motor function, mood and apathy. These findings will have important implications for preventing and treating Parkinson’s as well as its cognitive and behavioural complications.
Mr. Gagel emigrated to Vancouver from Germany as a young man and became a successful entrepreneur. Twenty-five years ago he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Kurt tells the story of how he was intrigued when he observed that cycling appeared to reduce his tremor. “When I mentioned this to Dr. Stoessl I was surprised to discover that he was in the process of putting together a research project to study the effect of exercise on people with Parkinson’s. However the project was in jeopardy due to a lack of public funding and I decided to fund this very important five-year study.”