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.”