Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Nom de Plume

I've been outed.  Or, at least I have decided to tell you my true name.

If you’ll remember that in post 59, I described how Dr. A and I were interviewed for a short news story about her research. Dr. A  (Dr. Alice Chen Plotkin) asked me to help her by acting the part of  the patient.   (Not much acting involved. I was just my usual shaky self.)

My dilemma , Dear reader, is that if you see the news item on your local TV news, I want you to know it is me, Michael Spokane. Except  the news story uses my real name, Michael Young.  So the truth is out. Michael Young rides a motorcycle, quotes Mohammad Ali and has good days and bad days.

Now pen names are a  tried a true tradition. Mark Twain,  George Elliot and Anonymous  are all nom de plumes.  In the age of the internet, I didn’t need  my insurance company to know that I am a shaking palsy motor head.

Actually, in real life my own name keeps me anonymous.  Open the phone book and count the Michael Young's. For blogging purposes, Michael Spokane is a unique name that is easily searched (and found).

Website addresses under the Spokane name were much easier to obtain as well.  I cornered the market on Michael Spokane variants.  After all, someday I may need to expand my brand!

So there you have. The truth will set me free.

See the news story at the following link. (while you still can!) MichaelsParkinsonsAdventure

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dr. Alice Chen Plotkin's Research

Click on the link below to read an in depth interview with Dr. Alice Chen-Plotkin about the research  currently being conducted to predict dementia in Parkinson's patients.

The research is being conducted at the University of Pennsylvania

Click on this link for detailed text interview.

Click on this link for the television interview.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Start Slow, Then Taper


The calendar shows that it’s the beginning of summer, but we’re already deep into our third heat wave this year on the Mid –Atlantic seaboard.  I will not complain though, considering the misery many of our fellow citizens are suffering from floods and tornados. God help them.

This weather  does get me to wondering why I am  less tolerate to heat then when I was younger.  Is it just the aging process?  Is it the Parkinson’s?  Is it the medication?

Like all good Citizen Scientists, I scoured the internet. (Saving Dear Reader the task.) It turns out the answer is yes, yes yes. It is the perfect trifecta of factors that add up to misery in the heat.

As we age, our ability to adapt to the heat becomes more difficult. This is true for the entire population.  Now add PD to the mix. Since everyone with PD has their own personal path, it’s hard to make blanket statements.

Dr. Michael Okun, M.D. states that “Any stress can affect PD. In particular very hot days, sleep deprivation, and dehydration as well as stressful situations hit our patients hard!” I suppose that, because we sweat, heat brings on the double whammy of heat stress and dehydration, making us particularly vulnerable.

My unscientific and informal polling of those I know with neurological disorders all report sensitivity to the heat. It is just one more environmental thing to which we must adapt.

My solution? I follow the example of my friends from South Carolina. When it comes to working in the heat they advise us to “Start slow,  then Taper.”