Blogging with Parkinson's

A personal perspective on Young Onset Parkinson's


Published in Progress


Parkinson’s UK publish a Research magazine called Progress. A little while back (even research magazines have lead times), I was contacted and asked if they could use my round-up of research into the idea of a “Parkinson’s Personality”. Continue reading



Two-Faced Dopamine, and the Difference Between Wanting and Liking

This video, which a friend pointed out to me on the Guardian’s Web site, is quite intriguing. Its direct relevance to Parkinson’s is minimal, but it does discuss the role of dopamine in the brain and the psychological and sociological results of an excess thereof. Too much dopamine is, of course, precisely the opposite problem to that posed by Parkinson’s. Continue reading

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Someone Else’s Story

The EPDA (European Parkinson’s Disease Association) shared a link to this story on Facebook. I’m passing it on:

Living with Parkinson’s: Young father learning to cope with early onset diagnosis

It’s a local interest story from Spartanburg in upstate South Carolina, USA. One of the things they talk about is Early Onset (Young Onset) support groups (as distinct from general purpose Parkinson’s support groups, which tend to be dominated by the older PWP – whose perspectives, needs and interests are often quite different to that of the younger person). Now, I do know of one such group not far from me – I just haven’t managed to do anything about it yet. This has reminded me, and pushed the idea further up the to-do list.

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Non-lnvasive Brain Stimulation as a Therapy for Parkinson’s

Yes, I made this.

An illustrative tin foil hat.

Further to my recent post on DBS (deep brain stimulation), it has been pointed out to me that the brain can be stimulated without surgery to implant a stimulation device. Naturally, the effects of external stimulation are less – and, I imagine, are rather awkward to administer – but at least there is no brain surgery involved.

How effective are these procedures?

(And if you want to skip the academic science-y bit, I’ve included the following options:

  • Click here to go straight to my answer to the above question
  • Click here to go straight to the fun, “Wow, tDCS is cool!” bit)

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A Weighty Matter: Weight Training Has Positive Effect on Parkinson’s

I’m interested in this story because my physiotherapist gave me some weights-based exercises right at the beginning – and because I (unexpectedly) found that I liked them. Part of the reason for that is that they don’t take long and that the equipment doesn’t, really, take up much space (although my weekend bag is inordinately heavy these days). In fact, performing the exercise itself doesn’t take up much space either.

I first spotted the news that weight training is the latest “best” exercise in a Telegraph article, which describes how two groups of Parkinson’s patients were compared, one working with weights, the other following a program called “‘fitness counts’, which includes flexibility, balance and strengthening exercises.” Continue reading


TV Alert: “Barbara Thompson: Playing Against Time” (BBC FOUR)

On Sunday 19th February, at 9.00-10.15pm, BBC FOUR will be showing a film about Barbara Thompson, professional jazz saxophonist and composer. Who just happens to have Parkinson’s. It goes without saying that music must play a vital part in her battle with the condition, although I imagine that there is a terrible fear that she will lose the ability to play. Thompson and her husband, Jon Hiseman (jazz-rock drummer and mainstay of the jazz-prog-rock band Colosseum) are apparently remarkably candid about their experiences with Parkinson’s.

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John Harding, “What we did on our holiday”

This is a novel that describes advanced Parkinson’s in a family member. It is an “end of life” Parkinson’s book, not unlike Franzen’s The Corrections or Mistry’s Family Matters. As such, it can be a difficult read. Nick’s father is in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s. He is severely disabled, although his wife seems bizarrely grateful that “he hasn’t got the shaking kind” (there: myth number one about Parkinson’s debunked).

Nick and his wife, Laura – and, predictably, not all is completely tickety-boo in that relationship – decide to take Nick’s parents on holiday to Malta, where Dad (whose name is Jim) was stationed during World War II. The novel opens with the aeroplane journey, which sets the scene by introducing the awful difficulties of dealing with an aged parent’s disabilities and the frustrations experienced by each of the group. Well, all of them except for Dad. Dad finds it difficult to express himself coherently. Dad has, essentially, lost his voice as a character… or has he? Glimmers of personality emerge now and then, the more achingly precious for their rarity, and the ending rests upon a full understanding of a request from father to son. Continue reading