Head in the sand


I woke up today like any other day, did all the things I usually do and sat down at my laptop like any other day.  But when I fired up the portal to the world and went to Answers.com, a relatively new-to-me source of everything to do with word usage, I saw that today, April 11th, is National Parkinson’s Awareness Day and that April is recognized as Parkinson’s Month.  So it turns out my newest source is not just a scrappy forefront provider of all things improving command of the English language, but a caring provider of humanitarian info as well. 


Yes, the site is driven by capitalism, hopes its visitors will click on the ads, and like the big Walmart issue of value provided with intent to grab the biggest piece of pie at great expense to all, the value-to-pie-grabbing ratio of Answers.com could be argued, but in a much tinier arena.  I’ll leave that to a much bigger brain for another day. 


Today, I’d cast a vote for value since Parkinson’s is a subject I’ve been playing the Ostrich Game about.  A loved one was diagnosed with the disease some time ago and it’s been the classic case of denial for me.  My knowledge level is at “bare minimum” and I haven’t scoured the internet for information on Parkinson’s that would help me better understand and assist in relation to it.  Now, the kindly consciousness elbow jab has been received. 


And the work has been done for me.  Right there, compiled in one place a short distance from my nose, is a well-thought out, non-overwhelming selection of blurbs that give a well rounded overview.  Of course there’s a quote there from Michael J. Fox whose high profile, along with that of Muhammad Ali’s, has done worlds of good for Parkinson’s awareness and research.


Both the simplicity of the layout and the word usage that promotes a more in-depth look is not uncommon to these sorts of sites, but somehow it has made easy and enjoyable this responsibility I have to my family and myself…or maybe it’s the kindly consciousness whispering the rewards of following its advice…



The tulip symbol, shown above right, is the worldwide symbol of Parkinson’s Disease as found at the European Parkinson’s Disease Association.


Photo directly below from Getty Images.  

From the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center a good in-a-nutshell definition, “Parkinson’s disease is a slowly progressive, chronic neurological condition that affects a small area of cells in the mid brain know as the substantia nigra.  Gradual degeneration of these cells causes a reduction in a vital chemical known as ‘dopamine.’” 


From Answers.com, a tidy overview of dopamine, “Dopamine is a neurotransmitter as well as a neurohormone.  Its secretion is linked to increased heart rate and blood pressure.  As released by the hypothalamus, it acts as a inhibitory hormone which stops the anterior pituitary gland from releasing prolactin.”


From the Michael J. Fox Foundation, a nutshell on the dopamine relation and the symptoms, “…The sustantia nigra cells produce dopamine, a chemical messenger responsible for transmitting signals within the brain that allow for coordination of movement.  Loss of dopamine causes neurons to fire without normal control, leaving patients less able to direct or control their movement…”  Symptoms are, “resting tremor, slowness of movement (bradykinesia), postural instability (balance problems) and rigidity.  Some other physical symptoms such as gait problems and reduced facial expression are also of note.  These are due to the same discoordination of movement that causes the better-known tremor and slowness.”



12 responses to “Head in the sand

  1. So that’s why there was a debate on Parkinson’s on Tv today.
    This is a terrible disease because the person is still very aware of what is happening and not being able to control our own bodies sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it?

  2. Devil Mood: Absolutely! Let’s have none of it, what do you say?! I’ve already made my mind up that I’m going to stay healthy right on up to and past the age of 50 when Parkinson’s most often shows up. And when I’m really old I’m going to be one of those beautiful old sun-kissed, yellow-haired firecrackers (think Katherine Hepburn, “On Golden Pond”) :-)

  3. Yep, I’m definitely not having that!
    I googled On Golden Pond and I get what you mean. My problem is the hair – mine is black and at some point I’ll have to get it lighter because black makes people look like old crows. Why do we all have to turn blond?
    See how easily one can get from serious to fickle? …

  4. Devil: LOL! It seems to be human nature to shift into humor before things get dangerously heavy! And the answer to your question…ah, because blondes have more fun??? Well, maybe in a stereotypical world… :-)

  5. its a terrible disease. to me, such things are reminders – of the wrath of nature. man, in his vanity, tends to think he is invincible sometimes.

  6. This is a terrible disease. Just the exhaustion of not being able to rest or sleep well is enough of a burden. I remember Janet Reno trying to control the “shakes” at press conferences.

  7. Pingback:   Head in the sand by medTRIALS.info·

  8. Dharmabum: your last sentence speaks to me. A few years ago I realized the precariousness of us, of everything, and I spent some time fearful that the worst things might happen to me, and if they did happen, I felt that I wouldn’t want to live. I found myself ultra-sensitive to and finding stories of people who’d been stricken with something awful, and most of them said the same basic thing that Michael J. Fox said, “Nobody would choose to have a disease visited upon them. Still, Parkinson’s forced me to make a fundamental life decision: adopt a siege mentality, or embark upon a life journey.” From the outside looking in, of course I don’t want anything like that to happen to me, but because of all that I’ve taken note of, I have an understanding that chances are I’d be OK in the middle of whatever did happen to me. Ewwww, I can’t believe I said that! You see? I go back and forth! But at least I don’t live in fear of it as I used to and we know what a powerful magnet fear is!

    Hi Hattie! Good to see you again! Oh, my gosh yes, Janet Reno… What a brain, what a career, and what an accomplishment, the first and only female Attorney General to date! Active, effective long after her diagnosis. Another example of one who rose to the occasion under the worst of odds.

  9. talk about going back and forth – its sort of become a regular habit of mine. initially, it agitated me. but then, i began to discover, i was after all, of multitudes, of seeming contradictions too. and it was this discovery that lead to the joyous process of unravelling the mysteries of the mind…of trying to find exactly when, and why, it goes back and forth. and there has been no looking back.

    no fear for me – i don’t want that one magnet. :)

  10. Hear, hear, Bum! I love it when you talk Pramā! Of multitudes, of contradictions, yes…not just the Source but an ego! I intend to remain free of fear, too, along with you, with the unraveling, the blessing of being aware of the two sides of the mind and being at a place where we can just observe the busy side and its antics, observe the fear but not be the fear. :-)
    This is great stuff, Bum…thanks for livening up the place! ;-)

  11. prama? what might that be?

    it is, indeed a blessing, isn’t it? i feel so grateful for being made a little aware of the monkey mind! oh, and miss, the pleasure is entirely mine. thank YOU :)

  12. Hi Bum! By now you’ve probably looked this up! Anyway, Pramā, Sanskrit from Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, is right knowledge as opposed to bhrama (erring knowledge or illusion) and involves real relation among real objects. I liked the nutshell definition in Wikipedia but I used it here very loosely just to mean right spiritual knowledge.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s