Chocolates for Parkinson

Parkinson’s disease affects 6.3 million people around the world – a statistic that is expected to double by 2040. Patrick Demoucelle is one of those affected. He was diagnosed with the disease just before his 40th birthday, 14 years ago.

What can you do when the results of an MRI scan cast a dark shadow over personal and professional joys? Patrick and his wife Anne-Marie decided to embark on a new chapter of their lives. They gave up their careers to join the quest for a cure for Parkinson’s disease. It is possible. 2,000 years ago, it took a century to double the volume of knowledge in the world. Ten years ago, it took a day. Today, we can double the global volume of knowledge in just 3 minutes.

We believe in their project and have decided to work with them. We have chosen to mix business with pleasure by creating 3 delicious chocolates and donating the proceeds of their sales to promising scientific projects in need of funding.

The chocolates

We can draw various parallels between dark chocolate and the mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease: dark chocolate promotes the production of dopamine and contains polyphenols, which are natural antioxidants. Chocolate is also one of richest foods in magnesium. Finally, high cacao content provides theobromine, a substance offering potentially protective effects very close to those of caffeine in coffee.

To raise awareness of the specific characteristics of Parkinson’s disease, we have added ingredients such as coffee, guarana, linseed, chia seeds and macadamia nuts to the chocolates in this campaign. Chocolate, of course, will have no effect on Parkinson’s patients, nor in preventing the onset of the disease. Our sole objective in highlighting the positive effects of cacao, coffee and other ingredients in our chocolates is to explain and promote greater understanding of Parkinson’s disease.

We have developed three special recipes for this range of chocolates:

  • “Cocoa Secret” is an 80% chocolate with cacao slivers for added authenticity.
  • “Espresso Mystery” is a 72% dark chocolate in which theobromine (naturally present in cacao) is complemented by caffeine from coffee and guaranine from guarana to create the full-bodied bitter-sweet flavour of coffee.
  • “Divine Nuts” combines a 72% dark chocolate with omega 3 found naturally in linseed, chia seeds and macadamia nuts to create a very crunchy taste alchemy.

The Demoucelle Parkinson Charity

It was in 2005, at the height of his professional career, that Patrick Demoucelle – a 40-year-old businessman – discovered that he had Parkinson’s disease. The diagnosis marked an abrupt change in his life and that of family and friends. His very successful past gave him the motivation to push ahead with the same determination. He wanted to keep hoping and believe in a solution. In 2011, together with his wife Anne-Marie, he decided to set up the Demoucelle Parkinson Charity to speed up the search for a cure.

40,000 people in Belgium have Parkinson’s disease: 1 Belgian in 283, with 10% of those affected under 50 years old. The Demoucelle Parkinson Charity aims to provide an extra boost for highly promising projects that are already close to a solution. Together with the Michael J. Fox Foundation, we have already supported 8 projects in the (pre-)clinical phase; 7 in Europe and 1 in the United States.

They collect funds, work with research teams to improve communication and leadership skills and rally support for the cause. Promoting a positive attitude towards Parkinson’s disease at all times is essential.

At the moment, all medication for Parkinson’s disease treats the symptoms, helping to mask them (temporarily). To encourage real progress, the Demoucelle Parkinson Charity specifically supports the few projects aiming to modify, slow down, stop and even reverse the disease.

The DPC is supporting a new phase of the Pet Tracer project by the Swiss biopharmaceutical company AC IMMUNE. At the moment, there is no available method to measure the level of alpha-synuclein in a living brain. Alpha-synuclein is the protein that accumulates to exert a toxic effect on the brain cells of a Parkinson’s patient. The project will allow earlier diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and make it possible to monitor its progression over time to assess the efficacy of treatments aimed at reducing accumulations of alpha-synuclein. The results of the study will also be useful for other brain diseases and will therefore have a more general application and impact.

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