Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner has met with Dr David Herd from Queensland Children’s Hospital who is a on lead researcher on world-first Bell’s Palsy study into the effects of the illness on children.
The five-year trial, being conducted at Royal Children’s Hospital, includes clinical trials of steroids and a study of the psychological effects of the disfigurement associated with Bell’s Palsy.
Cr Schinner met with eight-year-old Calamvale girl Maryam Abdi to talk about their common experience with Bell’s Palsy which struck both suddenly and without warning.
Maryam was rushed to emergency three weeks ago after waking up unable to move the right side of her face or close her eye.
She has been under the care of Dr Herd and became part of the world-first trial.
Cr Schrinner developed numbness to the side of the face in early September which was later diagnosed as Bell’s Palsy.
It has impacted the Lord Mayor’s facial nerves on one side of his face and his ability to smile.
Maryam’s mother, Asmina said she was worried about her daughter being bullied about her facial paralysis and had met with Maryam’s teachers and the principal at Calamvale Community College.
“Children can be cruel, just as grown-ups can, which is very sad because it is a very scary time when something like this happens,” Asmina said.
Cr Schrinner said he had overwhelmed by the support from not only his family, friends and colleagues, but the entire Brisbane community.
“You do get self-conscious about it, but most people are really understanding and would never dream of saying anything derogatory,” he said.
“I have mainly received so much support and it heartens me to hear young Maryam has such a wonderful network of school teachers and friends.
“I have been relying on Dr Google to research Bell’s Palsy since I was diagnosed, so it has been terrific to spend some time with such a respected expert in the field as Dr Herd and meet Maryam, who is going through it too.
“I have regained most of the feeling in my face, but those closest to me can still notice a difference.”
Dr Herd said he was interested in expanding the current study to include the effects of physiotherapy on Bell’s Palsy sufferers.