An interview with Pablo Campo, Ph.D. & Physiotherapist on August 8, 2023 by George Ackerman, Ph.D, J.D.
Physiotherapist expertise in Parkinson’s disease. PhD in Health Sciences from the University of Vigo. Researcher at the HealthyFit Group, Galicia Sur Research Institute (IISGS) SERGAS-UVIGO.
Pablo Campo Prieto is a member of the HealthyFit Research Group of the University of Vigo (Spain) integrated into the Galicia Sur Health Research Institute. He graduated in Physiotherapy and PhD in Aging and New Technologies from the University of Vigo. He has combined teaching at the Faculty of Physiotherapy at the University of Vigo with research and its clinical application in the field of the elderly and Parkinson’s disease.
Please tell me a little about your background.
My first clinical experiences as a physiotherapist were in a Patient Association. At the same time, he was studying a master’s degree in research and as a final master’s project he decided to carry it out with a parkinsonian population, carrying out an exercise-based physiotherapy intervention with focused attention on patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s and Parkinson’s-plus.
Can you tell me more about your defense?
From that moment on, an attempt was made to maintain a triple mode: clinical, researcher and advocate. Something that requires a lot of effort and time but that allows you to achieve a holistic vision in this field.
What is your passion and how did you get involved in raising awareness about Parkinson’s and hoping for a cure?
My true passion is providing therapeutic solutions to people living with Parkinson’s. Empower them to make changes in their routines and as a physiotherapist I work in health education and in promoting healthy habits away from sedentary attitudes.
Due to my research side, I have been working in recent years on the design of exercise-based physiotherapy programs that are not only the most appropriate for each person but can also be carried out independently in personal environments.
From the defense point of view, I am a regular collaborator of the Patient Associations of Galicia (Spain), recently of others in Portugal such as Young Parkies Portugal and the feminist movement Con P de Parkinson that seeks to make early-onset Parkinsons visible in the woman I am also a member of the advisory committee of the Degén Foundation and a member of the Spanish Society of Neurology. In all of them always on the theme of physiotherapy, exercise, and Parkinson’s. He recently wrote a little book in Spanish to help the Parkie community.
What kind of goals do people with Parkinson’s awareness have when they work with you?
As I have mentioned before, my main objective is to implement effective self-care. I like to say that I am the physiotherapist who accompanies people with Parkinson’s but in most cases, there is not always daily contact. I believe that all possible information should be provided so that the person affected is the main expert on their condition, which is also personal and unique.
Of course, sometimes there are difficulties… complying with the guidelines, changes in the clinical course or reasonable doubts… that’s why we are there!
I like to work in real settings: homes, usual routes, parks, beaches… to provide security and learn about possible barriers.
What effect can your advocacy have on a person with Parkinson’s awareness?
I believe that you can live well and happily with Parkinson’s, maximizing your abilities and the best moments. It is a maxim of physiotherapists. I am also a defender of the multidisciplinary approach; I believe that it is an obligation of all clinicians and researchers who are dedicated to PD to know the other therapists (and their therapies) that participate in the holistic care process in PD. To do this, I’m talking about attending neurologist assessments, speech therapist, neuropsychologist, or occupational therapist sessions… I was extremely lucky to see this in a fantastic center in Lisbon (Portugal), the CNS helps people with movement problems.
What would you like to see as a future goal for your advocacy work?
We are currently carrying out a line of research that seeks to create multi-component exercise programs especially aimed at people living with Parkinson’s. We intend to achieve physical and cognitive stimulation with high adherence. For this, we are using video games and virtual reality (VR). We have some publications in impact magazines and some more projects underway.
Preliminary results are promising, as some exergame and VR exercise programs have been shown to be safe and have achieved moderate to vigorous intensity levels (and we already know how important this can be to the brain) as well as improving gait and balance.
Finally, a possible impact is suggested on our mood since the participants rate it as fun, suitable, recommendable, and motivating.
What events do you participate in?
This question has already been answered before, but I have participated in informative talks for patients, training sessions for professionals, international scientific congresses and in the past WPC23 in Barcelona showing a poster.
How does this help caregivers too?
As I comment in my book, the patient-caregiver pairing is indivisible in certain aspects.
I like that they are present in some sessions and that they are also involved in the necessary basic knowledge about the DP.
On the other hand, the time for individual sessions is often a necessary break for caregivers.
Finally, a person living with active Parkinson’s generates less dependence on the caregiver.
How can someone get in touch? What is your website?
My workplace is the University of Vigo in Spain, where I carry out my teaching and research role. I am a member of the HealthyFit research group that has been investigating the possibilities of exercise in neurodegenerative pathologies since 2000, especially PD. We are attached to the Galicia Sur Research Institute.
From the healthcare point of view, I work in home environments and/or as an adviser on the processes linked to the pathology
If you had one final statement or quote that you could leave for the Parkinson’s community, what would it be?
Staying physically, cognitively, and socially active represents a key pillar to living well with Parkinson’s.