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The poker face of Parkinson’s

Loss of dopamine can affect the facial muscles resulting in a lack of expression sometimes known as poker or stone faced. This mask like presentation can cause challenging communications and negatively impact on relationships with others. In 2012 a Parkinson’s sufferer was arrested at the London Olympics for not smiling when watching British success in a road cycle race. You may be told that you have a serious, depressed or mad look on your face even when you are not in a bad mood. Recently I began to be aware of some rather strange muscle feelings around my mouth, not something I like the idea of really. I have found a series of exercises on YouTube which seem to tackle the problem so I shall try and do these a couple of times a week. Singing is a very good activity too so belonging to my local Parkinson’s choir can only be beneficial. Even at my dance class in London we spend 10 minutes working on our facial muscles. Let’s hope all this action can keep me smiling when I should be!

On a positive note I recently saw a neuro physio who was impressed by my lack of rigidity particularly in my upper body; thank goodness for the wonders of Pilates!

February has seen a catching up with friends after my 6 month stay in Australia following the early birth of Handsome Henry. No doubt we will be Down Under again soon but in the meantime the daily FaceTime fix keeps us updated with his progress. He certainly has an engaging smile!


 Handsome Henry wearing his Brighton & Hove Albion kit.

Going out to lunch is always a treat with friends or family. A recent visit to Amberley Castle in Sussex, complete with a full set of armour on the stairs, was a lovely occasion in a magnificent setting.


Amberley Castle, Sussex.

At this time of year when the weather is so grey and gloomy it is therapeutic to browse through holiday brochures and imagine the warmth and sunshine. We have planned a river cruise along the Douro River in Portugal with our wonderful Aussie friends who look after us so well, something to think about when there is endless rain here and snow forecast over the next few days.

I have now been doing this monthly blog for 5 years. Over that period I have posted 60 blogs and the site has had over 10,250 views from 97 countries around the world, including such remote places as The Maldives, Rwanda and Nepal. The top six countries in terms of views have been the UK, Brazil, Australia, USA, France and New Zealand. Thank you all for your support.

5 thoughts on “The poker face of Parkinson’s

  1. Dear Elspeth – positive as ever. I am sure you are a great help to all those people who read your blog, and I am convinced that writing about a problem also helps enormously. Henry looks to be thriving! He is growing fast. It was lovely to see you recently -though I must confess it was rather chilly. KEEP SMILING!!! Love Frances xx

  2. You are doing marvellously well, and you do so much to keep positive and keep you on the right track. We are certainly an admirer of all your achievements. Rest assured we have noticed no visible change around the mouth, and you look gorgeous, as always. With you all the way and keep up the good work. We look forward to seeing the ‘bigger Henry’ soon. Much love Charles and Felicity xxx

  3. Good to hear from you again Elspeth. You are always so positive. Spring is at the end of this grey tunnel; hope to see you then.x

  4. Facial yoga is apparently good for us all…. knocks 3 years off. Amazing to see how many people read your blog! Lau xx

  5. As the “old” Aussie friend i need to take up facial yoga. May knock a few years off. Seriously though, Elspeth is an amazing lady and always so positive whilst dealing with/ managing a golfing and football fanatic AND Parkinson’s.
    Was with baby Henry the other day who told me he is keen to see Elspeth and grandpa very soon.
    Old Aussie

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