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Jack Sisson's TBI Blog

A hug is duct tape for the soul.

 

Jack has Parkinson's Disease. I'm not sure if we've discussed this on the blog before, but in typical Jack fashion, he set out to learn everything he could about the disease, and especially the latest research and treatment options. He says, "I will get a case manager to make sure I get the best consideration to use all that neuroscience offers, and offer myself to PD researchers so as to use what offers promise while I can still function. My talents have given me great satisfaction in many fields, so that I will feel impotent when I cannot function."

One interesting fact that might apply to Jack's case, considering that he suffered a TBI:
Recent research points to a link between damage to the head, neck, or upper cervical spine and Parkinson's. A 2007 study of 60 patients showed that all of them showed evidence of trauma induced upper cervical damage. Some patients remembered a specific incident, others did not. In some cases Parkinson's symptoms took decades to appear.
Thanks to Parkinsons Disease Information at Parkinsons.org for the following information:
Parkinson's disease is one of a larger group of neurological conditions called motor system disorders. Historians have found evidence of the disease as far back as 5000 B.C. It was first described as "the shaking palsy" in 1817 by British doctor James Parkinson. Because of Parkinson's early work in identifying symptoms, the disease came to bear his name.

Symptoms usually show up in one or more of four ways:

* tremor, or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face
* rigidity, or stiffness of limbs and trunk
* bradykinesia, or slowness of movement
* postural instability or impaired balance and coordination.

Though full-blown Parkinson's can be crippling or disabling, experts say early symptoms of the disease may be so subtle and gradual that patients sometimes ignore them or attribute them to the effects of aging.

Most people manage Parkinson's with medication, but there are surgical options available (each with its own inherent risks):
* Pallidotomy
* Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) –
* Thalamic stimulation
* Pallidal stimulation
* Subthalamic DBS
Visit Parkinsons.org for more information.

Jack believes that "this disease will have more progress than any condition because of Michael J Fox, and Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google who has already shown the value of DNA testing thru 23andme.com."

From Wired magazine's July issue:
Buried deep within each cell in Brin’s body—in a gene called LRRK2, which sits on the 12th chromosome—is a genetic mutation that has been associated with higher rates of Parkinson’s.

Not everyone with Parkinson’s has an LRRK2 mutation; nor will everyone with the mutation get the disease. But it does increase the chance that Parkinson’s will emerge sometime in the carrier’s life to between 30 and 75 percent. (By comparison, the risk for an average American is about 1 percent.) Brin himself splits the difference and figures his DNA gives him about 50-50 odds.
Sergey Brin has so far donated about $50 million to Parkinsons research. But being who he is, he's not after the usual route:
Brin is after a different kind of science altogether. Most Parkinson’s research, like much of medical research, relies on the classic scientific method: hypothesis, analysis, peer review, publication. Brin proposes a different approach, one driven by computational muscle and staggeringly large data sets. It’s a method that draws on his algorithmic sensibility—and Google’s storied faith in computing power—with the aim of accelerating the pace and increasing the potential of scientific research. “Generally the pace of medical research is glacial compared to what I’m used to in the Internet,” Brin says. “We could be looking lots of places and collecting lots of information. And if we see a pattern, that could lead somewhere.”

In other words, Brin is proposing to bypass centuries of scientific epistemology in favor of a more Googley kind of science. He wants to collect data first, then hypothesize, and then find the patterns that lead to answers. And he has the money and the algorithms to do it.

Read the entire in-depth article at Wired.com

You might also visit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research for more helpful information abo
ut living with Parkinson's and current research into the disease.

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