Saturday, November 11, 2017

I Said, Late-Breaking Meeting, Speech Therapy for PD

Hi folks, I just received a note from Rock-Star speech pathologist Anne Ver Hoef who has this to say "I’m organizing a PD speech group: meeting Monday, Nov 13 at 4:00 pm at Denny’s on DeBarr Rd, back room. I️ have invited several people but got behind in timeliness. Sorry for late invite. I️ don’t know if this will be a 1-time thing or if there is interest in group that practices skills and strategies and meets somewhat regularly." As many of you know Anne is a terrific therapist and a stellar person to boot. This is bound to be a fruitful use of your time.  I hope it isn't too late for you to adjust your schedules to attend this clambake.

Think LOUD,

Peter

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A new episode of The PD Pundit (He's only trying to help) Hot on the trail of a Parkinson's cure is up over at ParkinsonsDisease.net. Today's topic, the rapid acceleration of PD care.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

R.I.P. Bob Rinehart, Longtime APDSG member


Bob at the picnic last Summer
I'm sorry to report Bob Rinehart, the genial Texan in the old-fashioned suspenders, has died. According to Caroline, his wife, Parkinson's Disease did not play a major role in Bob's final hours as he was also coping with cancer and other ailments as well. Not that you would have known that to look or interact casually with him. He took his health problems in stride, and held to a balanced view of life. He was a solid, reassuring presence.

Bob worked for the BLM in land law. He processed native claims, allotments and the like, traveling the state widely. A great joy of his life was flying. He was a pilot who owned three small airplanes. He also loved public radio. especially Prairie Home Companion. He went on two Prairie Home Companion-sponsored cruises, on which he and his wife Caroline met Garrison Keillor the host of the show.

Bob could be quite witty. I remember hearing him answering the question "Who are the Kardashians?" with the reply " Evil Star Trek aliens from the planet Kardashia."  Members of our support group are likely to recall him fondly for the ribs he would provide to our annual Summer potluck. They and he will be missed.  Our condolences go to Caroline and the rest of his family.

The services for Bob will be held 2:00 Saturday the 28th at The First Congregationalist Church, 2610 East Northern lights, tucked in behind Wendler Junior High)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Oct 21st, a Halting Talk on "My Degeneration" at Providence Hospital

I will be giving a halting, slurred speech about my book-length comic "My Degeneration" this Saturday, October 21st at the Adaptive Abilities Fair put on by the local MS organization. My talk begins at 10:00 am and goes for about an hour, including the Q&A at the end. I will have a number of books available for you to pick up, thumb through, put down, then pick up again and finally buy. And yes I will be happy to deface their crisp, clean pages with my damn near illegible signature. The venue is the Providence Health Park, 3851 Piper St., Tower U Rms 2281 & 2285

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Parkinson's Can't Take Cartooning Away From Me. Not yet, Anyway

About a year ago, I ran into Matt Bors at a cartooning convention. Matt has, through sheer force of his considerable will, created one of the most provocative, smart cartooning sites on the Web,"The Nib". To my surprise, he had read my book, and said he liked it.  He proposed that I do a piece for his site, emphasizing the cartooning aspect of my struggle with Parkinon's Disease.  I did. To make a long story short, here it is.








Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Rejected! This Post Was Toast. Do Not Read if You Are Satire Impaired


A piece I did for a blogging client. It's inspired by the fact that three of the 20th Century's most evil men had Parkinson's Disease. Given some of the side effects of our medication, if seemed within the realm of humorous possibility there could be a connection. While the client thought this was funny, they declined to publish the piece for fear someone might actually believe that "A sudden powerful urge to brutally repress your fellow humans" was a legitimate PD medication side effect. (To their credit, they paid up a kill-fee without complaint.) I am confident confusion in this case will not be a problem for Off & On readers, and because I like the way the drawings of Franco  and Mao came out, here it is.







Sunday, September 24, 2017

Isolation and Parkinson's Disease, The hiding and the hidden

This is a reprint of  a blog post I wrote for the Northwest Parkinson's Disease Foundation. 

One of the biggest drawbacks of Parkinson’s Disease is the terrible potential it has to isolate an individual. Getting out of the house, engaging with the World is one of the things that make us human. Shut yourself away from the ebb and flow of human affairs, and your time here on Earth will likely be shorter, and more miserable than it otherwise would have been. Though it will seem longer, by far.

Studies have found that social interaction lessens depression, a common problem associated with Parkinson’s, and that interactions with family and friends increase mental stimulation. These, are well-recognized factors in their importance in coping with PD.

Unfortunately, in yet another sample of the thorough and twisted logic of Parkinson’s,  the disease and its many symptoms work against our healthy impulses to go out in public.

It’s hard to get out for physical reasons alone. We have difficulty moving, which is just the first barrier we must overcome. Then we have our inability to speak loudly and clearly. This can isolate a person effectively even if they do go out. It is demoralizing to attempt to contribute to a conversation, only to be ignored because you can’t muster the volume to get the attention of others. Further, we may be  embarrassed by a tremor, or by drooling. And the mental image of parading your shuffling gait in front of an audience, or gyrating wildly as you careen around a restaurant like a drunk, attempting to maintain your balance, is a serious deterrent to going out.

Illo 27
And then there is all the extra paraphernalia to wrangle, like canes or walkers, and God forbid you forget the pills that now must accompany you wherever you go.

But the biggest thing we have to carry out there is our vulnerability. The fact that we are sick and cannot hide it makes us uncomfortable, partly because it makes the rest of humanity uncomfortable. How? The fact is that if we are vulnerable, so is anyone, and everyone. Why else did Rush Limbaugh famously mock Michael J. Fox? Because Limbaugh is afraid. To belittle Fox is to minimize him as a threat, to put him in a different category, to deny his vulnerability is a shared vulnerability.

The uncomfortable truth is, we all do share that vulnerability. To defer to it by hiding ourselves away not only cuts us off from the rest of humanity, it cuts the rest of humanity off from us, and from the brutal reality that we represent. We are an important reminder to the rest of the race that all are subject to the whims of fortune. Until we can cure this disease, it can and will continue to mysteriously cut individuals out for suffering that carries no explanation or justification.

Humanity is in a position to do something about that. A cure can be found. It is just a matter of time and priorities. As long as the stricken lay low, we make it easier for the rest of the World to ignore our plight. By enabling others to ignore the disease, we come dangerously close to collaborating with it. Because as long as it is ignored, it will continue to claim more sufferers, slowly wring the joy from their lives, and extinguish them.

Your disease has been making you uncomfortable (to say the least!) long enough. Time to let it make someone else uncomfortable. Don’t go out for your benefit, much as it will benefit you. Do it for the rest of humanity. Do it for Rush.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Whoa, Nelly!bMeeting this Saturday, Sept 16

There is a meeting orf (just for fun, I'm gpoing tp leave in all my typo's in this note.) the Anchorage Parkinson's Disease Support Group tomorrow, the 16th of Sept.For you stivcklers, the offictal start time is 3:30. Our topic will be an important new study just released on PD and diet. (Hnt: eat your fruits and vegetables!) got it" ? Good! See you tomorrow,

Peter

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Parkinson's Palate, What Diet Should a PD Patient Pursue?

The Holy Grail of Parkinson's research is reversing and healing the damage the disease does. Short of that, and more immediately within our reach, is slowing it down. Ironically, the fact Parkinson's is slow-moving to begin with makes it difficult to tell whether your attempts to retard it are effective. So a just-released study, "Role of Diet and Nutritional Supplements in Parkinson’s Disease Progression," that appeared in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, was met with excitement by the PD community. While there isn't any radical departure in direction, the study puts substantial additional weight behind the old recommendation: follow the Mediterranean Diet.

The study, led by Laurie K. Mischley of Bastyr University features a table that lists foods effective in slowing the disease, and foods that seem to speed it up. The authors point out the Mediterranean diet, known for its association with a lower risk of developing Parkinson's can now be looked on as a way not only to reduce the risk but too slow the disease progression, too.

What is the Mediterranean diet? Here is a simplified version adapted from Healthline that fits well with the advice from the study:

  • Eat: Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, herbs, turmeric, ginger, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil.
  • Eat in moderation: Poultry, eggs,
  • Eat only rarely: Red meat
  • Don't eat: Sugar-sweetened beverages, added sugars, processed meat, refined grains, refined oils and other highly processed foods.

Also in the don't eat category: dairy. The study found "Ice cream, cheese, and yogurt intakes were associated with higher rates of PD progression (Table 2). Dairy has been repeatedly associated with PD incidence." You say "No yogurt? I thought that was as good way to keep the cultures in my gut healthy!" Granted, but you can replace that with other fermented foods, like pickles, kim chee, saurkraut, stink heads, kombucha or miso. There is a mammoth list of fermented foods here.

The authors had some unkind words about canned fruits and vegetables "Consumption of canned fruits and vegetables was a strong predictor of PD progression. Initially thought to be associated with socioeconomic status, the association remained after adjusting for income. Bisphenol A (BPA) is used extensively worldwide in the inner coating of food cans, and there is evidence that BPA contaminates foods stored in the cans. BPA is a well-established endocrine conductor associated with obesity, and more recent evidence suggests that it is an energy balance disruptor." Frozen fruits and vegetables were also found to be bad for people with PD, although the report offers no information on why this might be.

They also point to fried foods, soda, and beef as hastening PD progression. "Beef and pork, the most frequently consumed mammals in the Western diet, have several things in common, including a high-fat content and slow intestinal transit time. That intake of pork which was not statistically significantly associated with worse prognosis suggests that future research should be directed toward variables unique to beef, such as the higher iron content.

The authors had nothing to say on the health effects specific to PD of eating insects, the food of the future, so we'll just have to wait for that to be studied, But there is plenty of good advice  for what to eat in the present if you want to have a future. Bon app├ętit!