Understanding Parkinson's

Friday, February 6, 2009

My dad has suffered Parkinson's symptoms since 2001 and was diagnosed in 2003. Tonight, we watched the Frontline Documentary, "My Father, My Brother, and Me" and I highly recommend it. It was certainly an hour well spent.

You can watch it online at their website.

I learned a few things relevant to us.

First, researchers have discovered mutations in the LRRK2 gene have been associated with both familial and sporadic late-onset Parkinson's disease, particularly with people from the coast of Norway (where some of Dad's ancestors are from).

Second, researchers found (through tainted heroin of all things), a link between exposure to herbicides and the onset of Parkinson's. My dad was exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam; he's convinced that was his trigger. My maternal grandmother also suffered from mild Parkinson's; I imagine her years farming exposed her to plenty of herbicides.

Dave Iverson also interviewed with Terry Gross on Fresh Air . I know at least one podcast junkie will want to listen to it:-)


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